DETROIT — The Bulls on Saturday watched a 10-point lead shrink in the last 10 seconds of the third quarter after the Pistons hit back-to-back three-pointers, the second coming off a bad turnover by Kris Dunn.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulls took off with a seven-point lead, but the Pistons answered by tying the game.
The Bulls seemingly have made a habit of blowing second-half leads, including a 26-point advantage over the Thunder earlier this week.
But rather than getting frazzled, the Bulls used their timeout to calm down.
“We’ve been in so many situations where we got to be comfortable at one point in time,” Dunn said. “We’re starting to figure out who needs the ball in the fourth quarter and let them make the plays, collectively, just go out there and be us. And the main thing in the fourth quarter is when we get stops, everything else takes care of itself.”
The Bulls pulled away for good, beating the Pistons 119-107 at Little Caesars Arena.
Forward Zach LaVine was the hero. He scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. Rookie Coby White also came in clutch off the bench, scoring 19 points and shooting 5-for-7 from three-point range.
“It felt great,” said White, who had been limited to three or fewer points in each of the last four games. “[I’ve] been working at it, just trying to stay hungry and help the team, do what I do. And tonight I know it felt good being out there. I finally got the shots to fall after the last couple of games.”
The game was far from perfect. The Bulls had 19 turnovers to the Pistons’ 16. But they outrebounded the Pistons 46-29. Efficient shooting helped keep them in the game. The Bulls shot 51.9 percent from the field (40-for-77) and 51.4 percent on threes (18-for-35).
Dunn has added another element to the starting lineup. Over the last 12 games he has started in place of injured Otto Porter Jr., the Bulls have played .500 ball.
Part of the reason for that success, Dunn said, is the energy he brings on defense.
Dunn, who had nine points, four assists and four steals, believes this victory is an example of how far the Bulls have come.
“We’re starting to get the chemistry down a little more,” he said. “It was a really good team win. Even the guys on the bench, Coby finally got his groove back. We needed that from him. Our chemistry is starting to come together and it’s starting to show that when we get stops, we’re good.”
The Bulls moved ahead of the Pistons and into 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. They play the Magic on Monday, and if they can win in Orlando, the Bulls could be in eighth place in the conference, depending on what the Hornets do.
That’s the plan.
“We understand what the standings are, we’re not dumb to it, we see it, and that’s our goal,” Dunn said. “We got to go in Monday against Orlando and do what we do.”