Gordon, Bulls again avoid elimination vs. PistonsMay 16, 2007 - 4:30 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls have history working against them. They didn't seem to be bothered Tuesday night.
Gordon scored 28 points and Luol Deng added 20 and seven rebounds for the Bulls, who avoided elimination for the second game in a row with a thorough 108-92 victory over the top-seeded Detroit Pistons in Game Five of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Kirk Hinrich collected 17 points and 13 assists for Chicago, which now trails, 3-2, and will host Game Six on Thursday.
The Bulls secured the victory, launching themselves back into the series with an efficient third quarter by outscoring the Pistons, 33-20, to take control.
"I think we did (make a statement)," Gordon said. "We just didn't want our season to end. We have no pressure on us. We are just going out there and playing. In the last three games, even though we lost Game Three, I thought we came out with an attack mentality."
Despite their stellar play, they still face long odds. An NBA team never has won a best-of-seven series after trailing, 3-0. In the four major sports, just the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2004 Boston Red Sox have done it.
Likewise, since 2003, the Pistons were 12-2 in potential series-clinching games entering Tuesday's contest, with the only losses coming Sunday and in Game Seven of the 2005 NBA Finals against San Antonio.
"The pressure is still on us, because we have to win two and they only have to win one," Bulls center Ben Wallace said. "I don't think they are worried. I know those guys, and I've been to war with those guys. Worrying is the last thing I'd expect from them."
Chicago beat Detroit, 102-87, on Sunday to stay alive. This followed a three-game stretch where the Pistons routed Chicago, 95-69 and 108-87 at home in the first two games, and turned a 19-point deficit into a seven-point victory in Game Three.
However, with the win, the Bulls have reversed their own history. Chicago had not won an elimination game on the road since May 7, 1989 - a 101-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That squad, led by a young Michael Jordan, still was two years away from winning its first championship. And while the current edition still might be a low-post player short, it is playing like it still has a shot at hoisting the trophy.
"We got beat by a team that executed better tonight," Pistons forward Chris Webber said. "You have to give them credit for shooting the way they shot. We let an opportunity slip away. You don't do that. Never at home. That's unacceptable."
Entering the game shooting just 37 percent in the series, Chicago was on target all night, nailing 57 percent (43-of-75) of its shots from the field, including 10-of-16 from the arc. It fell just short of an NBA record in the first half, shooting 72 percent (26-of-36).
"It's tough to shoot 70 percent with no one guarding you in an empty gym, much less doing it in that kind of pressure situation," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Having a team shooting like that is demoralizing."
The Los Angeles Lakers shot 74 percent against Seattle in the 1998 playoffs.
In both wins in the series, the Bulls have shot at least 49 percent from the floor.
"When the game's going on, I'm not sitting there admiring our shooting, but we obviously did a good job," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "We shot very well against Miami, and then for some reason, we couldn't knock anything down in the first two games here. We're not going to shoot 70 percent very often, but we know we can shoot well."
Gordon, who shot 10-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, teamed with backcourt mate Hinrich to outscore Detroit's veteran tandem of Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, 45-33.
"In both of the last two games, Chauncey has been in foul trouble, and that doesn't happen very often," Skiles said. "When it does, you better win the game. I was hoping for something like this (Gordon's performance). He's not going to string together too many bad games. When he gets on a roll like he did today, it can be amazing to see."
Billups scored 17 points and Hamilton added 16 for the Pistons, who shot 42 percent (33-of-78). Hamilton had his second straight sub-par game after scoring just 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting in Game Four.
"There's no question that we've been talking about that (flipping the switch)," Saunders said. "We can't rely on doing things like what happened in Game Three. We need a sense of urgency. We're a grind-it-out team and we never got to play like that."
DETROIT 92 FINAL
May 15 10:32 PM
DETROIT 71 END, 3RD QTR
May 15 9:56 PM
NBA END 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
CHICAGO 31 31
DETROIT 25 25 END 1ST QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 1ST QUARTER
CHI - P.J. BROWN 7, KIRK HINRICH 7, BEN GORDON
DET - RICHARD HAMILTON 10, ANTONIO MCDYESS 4,
RASHEED WALLACE 4
May 15 9:02 PM
DETROIT 25 END, 1ST QTR
May 15 8:36 PM
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