CHICAGO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 119-108 on Sunday night.
Zach LaVine added 19 points and Coby White had 16 for Chicago (4-6).
DeRozan and the Bulls are trying to right the ship after a slow start. The season started with an opening night loss that led to a player’s only meeting, but DeRozan wants the outsiders to realize it is just the will to win from his team.
“The passion, I don’t think a lot of people get to see within the guys,” he said. “Just wanting to figure it out. On the outside a lot of people look at as a lot of chaos, the whole team meeting thing and everything. Everyone in this locker room wants to win.”
Jaden Ivey stole a pass from Andre Drummond and went in for an uncontested layup to cut Chicago’s lead to 94-91, but the Bulls responded with a free throw from Patrick Williams, a basket from Drummond and a jumper by DeRozan to put the Bulls up 99-91 with 7:34 left.
Kevin Knox II, who signed a contract with the Pistons on Wednesday, keyed the Detroit offense with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting. Isaiah Stewart finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds as Detroit lost its eighth straight.
“We got to be able to hold everyone accountable, myself included, I got to hold myself to a certain standard,” Ivey said. “Everybody in this locker room holds themselves to a certain standard because we all feel like we bring winning to the table.”
Knox made his fourth consecutive 3 of the game to get the Pistons to 99-94 with 7:02 left. Vucevic’s 3 answered Knox’s and Knox then missed his first shot of the game, a 3 that would’ve cut the Chicago lead to one. Ayo Dosunmu followed with a basket and LaVine hit a 3 to put the Bulls up 107-98 with 4:13 left.
Knox is going to try bring more versatility and depth to the lineup
“I can shoot the ball really well, my versatility stands out, but the biggest thing is just competing on defense, being able to guard multiple positions. Then offense, just trying to figure out what I can do to help the team,” said Knox. “A lot of guys are out, injured guys that can shoot the ball and that’s what they kind of need me to do.”
Marcus Sasser’s 3 got Detroit within 82-81 late in the third after they trailed by 10 earlier in the quarter.
The Bulls showed rust early after a three-day layoff. They missed their first eight shots after losing to the Suns in overtime on Wednesday. They got behind 11 points in the first quarter, but outscored the Pistons 24-7 to start the second.
Now DeRozan will try to use Sunday’s win as momentum when they face the Bucks on Monday.
‘For us to just to kind of catch a rhythm of things,” he said. “We lost a tough one to a great Phoenix team the other day that would’ve gave us a big energy going into these games, but we passed that one. We had to pay Detroit back for getting us at their place, now we have another opportunity to go down and play against an extremely talented Milwaukee Bucks team.”
DeRozan scored 15 points in the first half on 6-for-13 shooting as the Bulls led 55-50 at the half.
Alec Burks was back after missing six games due to a left forearm contusion and scored 12 points on 3-for-5 shooting in the half, He finished with 16 points.
Rookie Ausar Thompson added four points and 11 rebounds in the half. He finished with 16 rebounds.
The Pistons played without Jalen Duren, but Detroit got back Jaden Ivey and Burks. Duren left Friday’s loss to Philadelphia with a right ankle injury. He’s been in and out of the lineup while dealing with the ankle injury.
The Bulls played without their best defensive player as Alex Caruso missed the game with an injured left toe.
Pistons: Host Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Bulls: At Milwaukee on Monday night.