CHICAGO – Blake Griffin had bags of ice on each of his knees, and he soaked his feet in a tub of ice water. Andre Drummond also had bags of ice on each knee.
Detroit coach Dwane Casey said he was looking for fighters down the stretch, and his two biggest stars answered the call.
Griffin scored 16 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter after he felt a pinch in his lower right leg, and the Pistons rallied to beat the Bulls, 112-104, on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
“I thought that fourth quarter showed what we are made of,” Casey said.
Drummond finished with 20 points and 24 rebounds after playing the entire second half of Detroit’s ninth victory in its last 10 games against the Bulls. Reggie Jackson scored 21 points, and reserve Langston Galloway finished with 15.
Griffin missed much of the third quarter after he tweaked something in his leg early in the second half. But he returned for the start of the fourth and went 7 for 10 from the field in the period, helping Detroit (33-31) improve to 11-2 in its past 13 games.
“I felt fine coming back out there,” he said. “Tested it in the hallway and they gave me the green light and felt fine that fourth quarter. So no issues really for me.”
Zach LaVine scored 24 points for the Bulls (19-48), who led by as many as 21 in the first half. Otto Porter Jr. had 23 points and eight assists, and Lauri Markkanen finished with 18 points.
Markkanen’s layup tied it at 88 with 7:06 left, but Detroit responded with a 10-0 run. Griffin made a layup and Drummond scored on a floater to make it 98-88 with 4:50 remaining.
“I’m hoping this is a learning moment,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “We played about as well in the first half as you can play. … We came out in that third quarter and I thought our energy was poor.”
It was the first half of a rare home-and-home set between the Central Division rivals. The Pistons host the Bulls on Sunday.
The Bulls got off to a fast start with a 21-2 run in the second quarter that featured an impressive offensive sequence by Porter. The versatile forward made two foul shots and a pullup jumper before finding Shaquille Harrison for a layup. He then scored six straight points, converting a layup and two jumpers.
LaVine added two more layups to make it 53-37 with 4:50 left in the first half. The Bulls shot 65 percent (28 for 43) on their way to a 66-49 lead at the break.
“It’s frustrating but we need to stick together and try to look at the positives,” Markkanen said. “We did have a really good first half and we can build on that.”
GETTING IT DONE
The 6-foot-11 Drummond went 9 for 15 from the field in his 17th straight double-double – the longest active streak in the NBA. He also blocked two shots and grabbed three steals.
“He played the entire second half because we were searching for that intensity,” Casey said. “He protected the rim. He got in there, he rebounded some tough rebounds and got some buckets for us down the stretch.”
Pistons: Led by Griffin, the Pistons went 16 for 21 from the field while outscoring the Bulls 43-24 in the fourth. ... Luke Kennard scored 14 points. ... Galloway went 3 for 3 from 3-point range.
Bulls: Forward Chandler Hutchison (right toe) had a follow-up scan on his foot this week that showed “good bone healing,” according to trainer Jeff Tanaka. The No. 22 pick in last year’s draft hasn’t played since Jan. 25, and could miss the rest of the season. Tanaka said Hutchison will get another scan in two weeks.
Pistons: Go right back on the road after Sunday’s game against the Bulls, visiting the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
Bulls: After their trip to Detroit, the Bulls return home to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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