Wednesday , May , 16 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bull-Headed: Chicago stays alive again

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Ben Gordon scored 28 points as the sharp-
shooting Chicago Bulls moved halfway to NBA history by pounding the Detroit
Pistons, 108-92, to win Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Luol Deng had 20 points and Kirk Hinrich ended with 17 points and 13 assists
for the Bulls, who staved off elimination for a second straight game and did
it this time by shooting 57.3 percent from the field, including an incredible
72.2 percent in the first half.

The Bulls won at home, 102-87, on Sunday, and will return to Chicago for Game
6 on Thursday with a chance to even the series.

No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven
set, but the Bulls are two victories away. Game 7 would be at the Palace on
Monday.

“The pressure is still on us, because we have to win two and they only have to
win one,” said Chicago’s Ben Wallace, a former Piston. “I don’t think they are
worried. I know those guys, and I’ve been to war with those guys. Worrying is
the last thing I’d expect from them.”

Chauncey Billups had 17 points, but was hampered after picking up his fourth
foul in the third quarter for the Pistons, who were never ahead Tuesday,
and are still a win away from making it to the East finals for a fifth
straight year.

“In both of the last two games, Chauncey has been in foul trouble, and that
doesn’t happen very often,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “When it does, you
better win the game.”

Richard Hamilton had 16 points and Rasheed Wallace 15 for the Pistons, who
shot 42.3 percent, including a 5-for-19 clip from three-point range.

This was only the second time (2-11) Chicago won on the road in a playoff
game when facing elimination.

Detroit rallied from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Chicago
in Game 3, but there would be no such rally on Tuesday as the Bulls clamped
down defensively.

“There’s no question that we’ve been talking about that,” Pistons coach Flip
Saunders said of trying a comeback again. “We can’t rely on doing things like
what happened in Game 3. We need a sense of urgency. We’re a grind-it-out team
and we never got to play like that.”

The Bulls led 59-51 at the half behind 26-of-36 shooting from the field. It
was the highest percentage in a half since the Lakers shot 74.2 percent in a
game in the Western Conference semis against Seattle in 1998.

“It’s tough to shoot 70 percent with no one guarding you in an empty gym, much
less doing it in that kind of pressure situation,” Saunders said. “Having a
team shooting like that is demoralizing.”

Chicago sealed the win with an 18-3 run in the third quarter, expanding its
lead to 90-67 after a Gordon three-pointer with 1:44 left in the period.

Billups, the catalyst for Detroit’s offense, picked up his fourth foul with
7:36 left in the third. The Pistons trailed 70-62 at the time. When he came
back with 1:29 left in the period, the home team was trailing by 23.

Billups missed a three at the end of the third, leaving the Pistons behind
92-71 going into the fourth. The Pistons never threatened in the last 12
minutes as they only got as close as the final score.

Gordon went 10-of-16 from the field and P.J. Brown had 15 points on 7-of-9
shooting for Chicago, which also got 10 points from Tyrus Thomas.

Antonio McDyess had 12 points and Tayshaun Prince 11 for the Pistons.

A Brown jumper expanded Chicago’s early lead to 16-8, and even though the
Bulls went 14-of-18 from the field in the first quarter, they only led 31-25.

The accurate shooting started to wear down the Pistons in the second though.
Consecutive baskets from Thomas, including a dunk, moved the margin to 47-32.
The Bulls made nine straight shots at one point in the second, the final one
being a Gordon three to move the lead to 55-41 with 3:08 to go in the half.

Game Notes

Before Tuesday, the Bulls were 0-3 in Game 5s on the road when trailing 3-1 in
the series. They were also 0-2 all-time in elimination games at Detroit before
Tuesday…The Pistons are now 12-3 in close-out games since 2002-03…Chicago
was 10-of-16 from three-point range, including 5-of-6 from Gordon.

CHI DET