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Bulls avoid collapse, trail 3-1
Luol Deng scored 25 points, and Chicago hung on to beat Detroit in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and avoid a sweep.
By The Associated Press
Published May 14, 2007
CHICAGO - The Bulls built another big lead, and the Pistons were rallying. Sound familiar?
This time, there was no collapse.
Luol Deng scored 25, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon added 19 apiece, and the Bulls hung on to beat the Pistons 102-87 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday and avoid a sweep.
"I don't care who it is, we are better than being swept in four games, " Ben Wallace said. "We just have to come out and fight."
Unlike Game 3, when they had a 19-point lead dissolve into a seven-point loss, the Bulls withstood a late push by the Pistons.
They didn't flinch when Chauncey Billups hit two free throws with 3:55 left to cut it to 87-80 or when he answered Gordon's 3-pointer with one of his own. That made it 90-83 with 2:46 remaining, but the Bulls held off a Pistons team that had won 12 of 13 closeout games.
"I think the feeling was we knew the run was coming, " Hinrich said. "You feel like the shift in momentum. We just needed to take a deep breath and just keep what we were doing to get there - moving the ball, keeping an up-tempo game and getting stops."
The Pistons will try to wrap up the series Tuesday in Detroit, where they blew out the Bulls in the first two games after sweeping the Magic.
Deng was 10-of-15 from the field after shooting 38 percent in the first three games and had 13 rebounds.
"I just had good looks, " Deng said. "You make your first couple shots and your confidence goes up."
CHICAGO (102): Deng 10-15 5-6 25, Brown 3-9 0-0 6, B.Wallace 3-4 5-8 11, Gordon 4-11 9-9 19, Hinrich 7-15 4-6 19, Nocioni 4-8 0-0 9, Duhon 1-1 0-0 3, Thomas 3-8 4-6 10. Totals 35-71 27-35 102.
Detroit 19 24 13 31 - 87
Chicago 27 23 27 25 - 102
3-Point Goals-Detroit 6-25 (Prince 2-5, Billups 2-6, R.Wallace 2-12, Hunter 0-1, Murray 0-1), Chicago 5-12 (Gordon 2-3, Duhon 1-1, Nocioni 1-3, Hinrich 1-5). Fouled Out-Billups, Hamilton, McDyess. Rebounds-Detroit 43 (McDyess 8), Chicago 61 (B.Wallace 17). Assists-Detroit 23 (Billups 8), Chicago 18 (Hinrich 10). Total Fouls-Detroit 30, Chicago 21. Technicals-R.Wallace, Chicago Defensive Three Second 3. A-23, 099 (21, 711).
Spurs 108, Suns 101
SAN ANTONIO - The physical style of play returned in Game 3, and it seemed to bring out the best in the Spurs again.
Manu Ginobili got a bloodied and bruised eye, and 24 points, as the Spurs took a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.
"No big deal, I guess, " said Ginobili, who had the kind of night the Spurs needed after he had poor performances in the first two games, when he scored eight and six, respectively.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 33 points - 13 in the fourth quarter - and 19 rebounds.
"It looked pretty bad actually. It still looks pretty bad, " Duncan said of Ginobili. "But ... it fixed his shot."
Ginobili scored 12 in the third quarter and 10 in the last 1:58. Even after he got hit in the eye on a drive to the basket, he hit a jumper, three free throws and a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 80-72 going into the final quarter.
Ginobili said he wasn't sure who got him as he got caught up with Shawn Marion and Raja Bell.
"I think I poked him in the eye, " Marion said. "It was an accident, but I mean, it's part of the game. I didn't do it on purpose."
Marion led the Suns with 26 points. Steve Nash was scoreless in the first half and finished with 16 points.