Bulls center Ben Wallace dunks over the Pistons' Jason Maxiell. Wallace finished the game with six points.
Paul Beaty / AP Enlarge
CHICAGO - Ben Gordon scored 33 points and the Chicago Bulls stayed perfect this season against Detroit, using a strong fourth-quarter defensive effort to beat the Pistons 97-81 last night.
The Bulls outscored the Pistons 26-14 in the final quaretr, improving to 3-0 this season against the team that eliminated them in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring.
Andres Nocioni added 21 points in place of the injured Luol Deng, who was out with a sore Achilles'. Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 27 points, but Detroit shot only 5-of-18 in the last quarter.
The Bulls were nursing a 76-70 lead in the fourth, then ran off 10 straight points and were ready to take control with a 16-point lead.
But Billups hit a 3-pointer and Jarvis Hayes made a free throw when fouled on the same play, and the Pistons were back within 10. But the mini-rally fizzled when Bulls rookie Joakim Noah tipped in a shot, Gordon connected on a 3-pointer and Thabo Sefolosha dunked to put the Bulls back up 13.
Chicago point guard Chris Duhon had to be carried off the floor with just more than eight minutes left after he and Billups apparently bumped knees. Duhon was diagnosed with a left knee sprain.
Sefolosha finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds from his guard position.
The Bulls expanded a nine-point halftime lead to 13 in the third quarter when former Pistons center Ben Wallace hit his second jumper of the game right before the shot clock buzzer.
But Billups, who had 15 points in the third quarter, scored nine points in a 15-3 run as the Pistons came right back, even as Rasheed Wallace went to the bench with his fourth foul. The spurt cut the lead to one before Chicago put it back to 71-67 with a quarter remaining.
Sefolosha's 3-pointer and a basket by Nocioni put Chicago ahead by nine early in the fourth, and there were no final-quarter meltdowns by the Bulls.
Kings 110, Pacers 104
INDIANAPOLIS - Ron Artest scored 15 points against his former team to lead Sacramento to the win.
Artest still is disliked by Indiana fans for his role in the brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans in 2004. He was booed often, but got his first win against the Pacers since he requested a trade from Indiana two seasons ago.
Trail Blazers 94
ORLANDO, Fla. - Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points and Rashard Lewis added 16 to help the Magic hold on for the victory.
Dwight Howard posted his league-leading 37th double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for Orlando. Maurice Evans finished with a season-high 15 points.
Bobcats 105, Grizzlies 87
CHARLOTTE - Jason Richardson scored a season-high 38 points and had 14 rebounds to lead Charlotte to the victory.
Gerald Wallace added 28 points for the Bobcats, who beat the Grizzlies for the first time in team history.
76ers 99, Raptors 95
PHILADELPHIA - Willie Green tied a season high with 23 points and Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala each added 20 for the 76ers.
Samuel Dalembert posted his fourth double-double in the last five games with 14 points and 13 rebounds as Philadelphia won for just the second time in its last 10 games.
DENVER - Allen Iverson scored 35 points, including a fade-away jumper and two free throws in the final 30 seconds, and Carmelo Anthony added 26 as the Nuggets held off Minnesota.
The Timberwolves fell to 1-20 on the road this season and have lost 16 straight since a win at New Orleans on Nov. 26.
Marcus Camby scored 12 points and had 13 rebounds, moving him past Fat Lever for sixth place on the Nuggets' career rebounding list.