Griffin scores 28, Pistons top Bulls for 5th straight win
DETROIT — The Detroit Pistons are playing one of the biggest games of their season on Monday in Brooklyn.
That’s why they were happy to get Sunday’s game out of the way as quickly as possible.
Playing at noon on the day after daylight saving time went into effect, the Pistons scored 42 third-quarter points en route to a 131-107 rout of the Chicago Bulls and their fifth straight win.
Detroit finished the quarter with a 103-80 lead, good enough to let coach Dwane Casey rest Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson rest for the entire fourth quarter.
Detroit has won 12 of 14 to take a half-game lead over the Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
“That was huge, because we’re playing in Brooklyn tomorrow and then we go to Miami,” Casey said. “We’re not in a position to use what they are calling load management to give our players a night off, so being able to sit them in the fourth is a bonus.”
Griffin (17 points), Drummond (nine) and Jackson (eight) combined for 34 of Detroit’s 42 points in the third. The Pistons outscored the Bulls by 17 points, hitting 57.7 percent of their shots including 6 of 12 on 3-pointers.
“We got into a good rhythm and we were hitting shots,” Drummond said. “We were making them make mistakes, because they were trying to blitz us and we were swinging the ball and taking the best shots possible.”
Griffin finished with 28 points in 27 minutes.
“I’ve said it over and over again during these 14 games,” Griffin said. “We’re playing basketball the right way. We’re making extra passes and we’re trusting each other. If you do that, you’ll eventually get hot.”
Jackson scored 21 points for Detroit and Andre Drummond added 16 points and 15 rebounds. Drummond has recorded double-doubles in 18 straight games, matching his career high and one short of Bob Lanier’s franchise record.
The Bulls have lost four of five, including twice to Detroit in three days.
Chicago played without Zach LaVine, who missed the game with a right patellar tendon strain. Wayne Selden led the Bulls with 18 points while Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen scored 17 each.
“We played a good first half, but the second half wasn’t so good,” Porter said. “They were making shots and they are a playoff team. You have to expect them to get it going offensively, and we had to come out better for the second half.”
The Pistons hit 10 of 16 first-half 3-pointers (62.5 percent) to take a 61-55 lead. Jackson, who had missed pregame warmups to get treatment on an injured thumb had 13 points in the half, while Porter had 12.
Detroit started the second half with an 11-2 run, including seven points from Griffin, to move the lead to 15 points. Chicago never seriously threatened to get back into the game.
“Detroit’s the kind of team we need to learn from,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “They’ve got a couple powerful guys in Griffin and Drummond, they’ve got some good role players and they’ve developed maturity. They were down 20 in Minnesota and won and they were down 20 to us the other night and won.
“That’s a good example of who we can be and what we need to learn,” he said.