Bulls hold on, beat Pistons, just 1/2 game out of last playoff birth

AUBURN HILLS—The Bulls needed a win Sunday to boost their chances of a playoff spot.They found the perfect opponent.Flip Murray scored 23 points, Derrick Rose added 19 points and nine assists, and the Bulls beat the hapless Detroit Pistons 110-103.The Bulls now trail Toronto by a half-game for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.The Pistons have lost eight straight and 15 of 17. The victory gave the Bulls, who are seven games under .500 against the rest of the NBA, their first season sweep of Detroit since the Michael Jordan-led team that won 72 games in 1995-96. They have now beaten the Pistons seven straight times.Brad Miller added 17 points, while Hakim Warrick scored 14 off the bench.Rip Hamilton led all scorers with 29 points, while Rodney Stuckey overcame a twisted ankle to add 20. Hamilton also twisted his ankle late in the game.Detroit scored the game’s first five points, but that was the highlight of the night for the free-falling Pistons. The Bulls put together a 31-11 run to take a 62-44 halftime lead.A 32-point third quarter got the Pistons back within single digits, but they couldn’t hit enough shots in the fourth period to pose a serious threat.

NOTES—Detroit is 2-14 against the Central Division, with both wins coming against Milwaukee. Besides being swept by the Bulls for the first time in 14 years, they were swept by Indiana for the first time in franchise history….Murray, a former Piston, outscored former Bull Ben Gordon 23-3. Murray is making approximately one-sixth of Gordon’s salary this season…..Hamilton and Detroit Coach Jon Kuester both picked up technicals for arguing calls…..James Johnson returned for the Bulls after missing the last game with a strained foot.