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Chicago wins fifth in a row

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Bulls have gotten lost in the
Detroit Pistons' shadow ever since Michael Jordan left Chicago.

As hard as it would have been to believe a few months ago, that
might be changing.

Ben Gordon scored 19 points and fellow reserve Tyson Chandler
had 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulls won their fifth straight
game, beating the slumping NBA champions 89-82 Wednesday night.

"This was very impressive," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.
"It was a great defensive effort and we're a team that just keeps
battling."

Chicago, which started the season 4-15, hadn't won five in a row
since Jordan led the Bulls on a 14-game run during the 1997-98
championship season.

"It turned around pretty quick," Kirk Hinrich said. "If you
think about where we were three or four weeks ago, we're in a
comfort zone now."

Detroit, which shot 35.6 percent, has lost four of six.

"We continue to shoot bad and give people life," Pistons coach
Larry Brown said. "Our shooting percentage has been terrible, so
we've got to find a way to get to the line. That's tough for us,
because we don't really have any dribble-penetration guys. We have
to find a better way to play."

Brown had to be restrained during a postgame argument with
referee Anthony Jordan.

"The guy wouldn't talk to me during the game, and I can't
understand that -- I wasn't being discourteous," Brown said.
"Well, maybe I was at the end, and I suppose I'll hear about
that."

Six Bulls scored in double figures, including three reserve
players. The Chicago bench players outscored Detroit's 53-8,
including 18 from Andres Nocioni.

"This was a good game for the bench, but we've been
consistently playing well on this winning streak," Chandler said.
"I think that's one thing we were lacking. We didn't have a set
rotation and we didn't have an understanding of each other."

Chauncey Billups led all scorers with 32 for the Pistons, while
Ben Wallace had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks while playing
on a sprained ankle. Detroit still fell to 12-12.

"If you had told me at the beginning of the season that we'd be
at .500 at Christmas, I wouldn't have believed it," Billups said.

Chicago led 46-38 at the half, thanks to some outstanding
defense. The Bulls held Detroit to 32.6 percent shooting in the
first two quarters.

"We've just got to keep shooting," Rasheed Wallace said. "We
are in a little bit of a funk right now, but I think our shot
selection is OK. We've just got to knock them down."

The Bulls expanded their lead to 11 early in the third, but
Billups hit four 3-pointers, turning the last one into a four-point
play when he was fouled by Eric Piatkowski.

Billups finished with 17 points in the period, pulling the
Pistons within 64-62 at quarter's end.

Nocioni started the fourth with a 3-pointer for Chicago, but
Detroit stayed close until a 6-0 Bulls' run made it 77-70 with 5:40
left.

Game notes
Elden Campbell (sore back) didn't play for Detroit. ...
Chicago had lost nine straight to Detroit and 19 of 21. ... Olympic
gold medalist Carly Piper (swimming) was in attendance. ... The
game was Detroit's last before their much-anticipated rematch with
the Indiana Pacers on Christmas. It will be the first meeting
between the teams since Indiana's Nov. 19 victory was cut short by
the fight between Pacers players and Pistons fans. ... Five of
Chicago's nine wins this season have been on Wednesdays. ... The
Pistons entered the game ranked 27th in the NBA in field-goal
percentage.