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Hinrich, Deng carry shorthanded Bulls over Pistons

Apr 5, 2007 - 5:51 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls gave Ben Wallace a nice get well soon message.

Kirk Hinrich scored 29 points and Luol Deng had 22 and nine rebounds as the Bulls rolled to a 106-88 triumph over the conference-leading Detroit Pistons.

A four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Wallace missed Wednesday's matchup due to a sinus inflammation. He had spent six seasons with Detroit before leaving for the "Windy City" in the offseason.

With the win, Chicago (45-31) pulled within one-half game of the idle Cleveland Cavaliers (45-30) for second place in the Eastern Conference with six games to go.

Hinrich made 10-of-17 shots, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range to post his third straight game with at least 20 points. He also handed out eight assists.

Battling foul trouble, Bulls leading scorer Ben Gordon matched a season low with two points in 11 minutes. On November 9, he went just 1-of-10 during a loss at Cleveland.

Rookie Tyrus Thomas scored four of his 13 points when the Bulls broke the game open in the third quarter, grabbing a 84-69 advantage behind a 22-7 surge that closed out the period.

However, Thomas would not stick around to see the end of the game as he and Detroit's Richard Hamilton got into an heated altercation with 8:11 remaining in the fourth. Both were ejected.

A two-time All-Star, Hamilton's frustration could be blamed on his three-point, five-foul performance. It was his lowest scoring output of the campaign.

The Pistons were never able to challenge in the final quarter, suffering their first season series loss, 3-1, to the Bulls since the 1997-98 campaign.

Chauncey Billups scored 17 points and Rasheed Wallace added 16 despite an injured index finger for the Pistons (48-27), whose lead in the Central Division over Cleveland was trimmed to three games.

Playing their third game in four nights, the Pistons' magic number to clinch home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference postseason is now four.

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