AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - The Chicago Bulls almost gave away a game Sunday night.
In the end, though, the two best players on the floor made the difference.
Carlos Boozer had 31 points and 11 rebounds, Derrick Rose added 23 points and 12 rebounds and the Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 95-92 in overtime.
``This was ugly, but sometimes in this league, you've got to win ugly,' Boozer said. ``We played a tough game, they played a tough game, and we got the win. We earned this one.'
The Bulls should have had the game wrapped up in regulation, but they allowed the Pistons to get off four shots on their final possesion. Charlie Villanueva finally converted for Detroit, tipping in Richard Hamilton's second straight miss with 0.6 seconds left.
``We had been doing a great job rebounding the ball all night, but then we couldn't grab the biggest one of the night,' Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. ``It was a scramble play, and they kept fighting for the ball, but we've got to get those.'
Chicago still finished with a huge edge on the boards, grabbing 77 percent of Detroit's missed shots and 40 percent of its own.
``They manhandled us in the post area,' Pistons coach John Kuester said. ``They had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half, and we just can't allow that to happen.'
Detroit led briefly in the extra session, but Tayshaun Prince's three straight turnovers - his only three of the game - let the Bulls take a 91-88 lead with 1:33 left.
Rodney Stuckey got Detroit within one, but Boozer beat Prince for a layup with 41 seconds to go. Villanueva got it back to one, and Rose missed a 3-pointer, giving Detroit a chance to win.
Stuckey missed an off-balance jumper with 6 seconds left, and Kyle Korver hit a pair of free throws. Villanueva had to take a contested 27-footer at the buzzer, and missed badly.
``The play was designed for T-Mac, but they defended it pretty well,' Villanueva said. ``We really didn't have a second option, but I went to the open spot. I thought I had a clean look, but I just missed the shot.'
Rose, who matched a career high in rebounds, also had eight assists.
``Derrick helped up with his rebounding, his defense, his playmaking - everything,' Thibodeau said. ``When they were doubling Carlos in the post, we spread the floor and Derrick did some things that made them take away that second guy.'
Tayshaun Prince led a balanced Detroit attack with 17 points. Tracy McGrady and Hamilton both finished with 15 as Kuester chose to go with them over starters Villanueva and Ben Gordon for most of the fourth quarter and overtime.
``I had confidence in them, obviously, because I kept playing them,' Kuester said. ``They were getting things done, so I stayed with them and put Tayshaun at the four.'
While Boozer had success with Prince guarding him, Thibodeau felt Detroit's smaller lineup hurt the Bulls.
``When they went small, they gave us a lot of matchup problems,' Thibodeau said. ``McGrady's healthy again, and when he's out there, he puts a lot of pressure on you. That's why this is a very good win for us.'
NOTES: The Bulls had the game's first 13 offensive rebounds before Greg Monroe got one for Detroit midway through the second period. ... Detroit hadn't played since Wednesday, while the Bulls lost in New York on Christmas Day. ... Taj Gibson played after sustaining a concussion on Dec. 21 against Philadelphia. ... The Pistons have played five overtime games this season, with four coming in Sunday home games.
The Associated Press News Service
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