By ANDREW SELIGMAN/AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) – D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Taj Gibson added 17, and the Chicago Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-98 for their seventh straight win on Friday night.
Carlos Boozer finished with 18 points. Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored all of his 14 in the second half, and the Bulls kept their longest win streak of the season going.
They moved a game ahead of Atlantic Division leader Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference, with the Raptors losing to the New York Knicks. The Bulls also clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with Brooklyn falling to Atlanta.
They trailed by 56-38 at the half after getting dominated inside by Andre Drummond but turned things around in a big way after that.
Chicago outscored Detroit 32-24 in the third quarter to pull within 10 and went on a 15-0 run in the fourth to turn an eight-point deficit into a 90-83 edge. The Bulls then hung on in the closing minutes for their 35th win since Jan. 1 – tops in the Eastern Conference.
They pulled this one out even though they got dominated by Drummond, who scored 26 and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and Brandon Jennings added 17 but the Pistons lost for the 18th time in 20 road games.
Detroit was leading 83-75 with just over 10 minutes left in the game when Gibson, who scored 11 in the fourth quarter, hit two free throws to start the decisive rally.
Augustin then nailed back-to-back jumpers to make it a two-point game, and after committing a charge, he tied it at 83 when he hit two free throws with 8:10 left.
Jimmy Butler then put the Bulls ahead with a layup after Jonas Jerebko missed a 3 for Detroit, and Chicago continued to add to it.
A three-point play by Gibson, who landed near the photographers along the baseline, and two more free throws by Augustin put the Bulls up 90-83 with 6:14 remaining.
Peyton Siva answered with a 3 for Detroit, but the Bulls stayed in control after that.
Chicago’s Joakim Noah had six points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, giving him 408 on the season and putting him in some elite company. He became the ninth player in NBA history – and third with Chicago – with at least 400 assists and 100 blocks in a season, joining Kevin Garnett (six times), Sam Lacey (three times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Alex English, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Alvan Adams and Dwyane Wade.
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