for this game

Thomas, Deng help Bulls pick up first win

Nov 9, 2007 - 5:29 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls hope a few more games like this will help calm the Kobe Bryant trade rumors.

Thomas scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Deng added 17 points as the Bulls notched their first win of the season, 97-93, over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.

Ben Gordon scored 16 points and Kirk Hinrich dished out 14 assists for the Bulls, who lost to the Pistons in six games in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.

"Playing a formidable foe like Detroit, we knew we would play well," Gordon said. "So we brought our game, and it's good to get a win."

"This is a big win for us," Thomas said. "We came out and played better and harder than we have all season, we were more focused too."

Chicago, which started 0-4 for the first time since 2004-05, managed to hold off Detroit despite being held without a field goal in the final four minutes.

Deng, who has been mentioned as trade bait in a potential deal for Bryant, hit a jumper that put the Bulls up 94-89 with 4:04 left in the fourth. That proved to be the difference.

"We finally played a complete game," Deng said. "When they made runs out there, we kept answering them. This is our first win, so we can go from here."

Deng and Thomas spoiled a huge night from Rasheed Wallace, who carried the Pistons, scoring 36 points on 12-of-24 shooting with nine rebounds but missed a pair of crucial shots down the stretch.

"You could (tell) our crowd was getting a little nervous," Deng said. "But we made some big plays at the end, which is something we have not been doing."

Wallace, who scored 14 points in the third quarter to help the Pistons stay in the game, was not as good down the stretch - misfiring on his final two shot attempts.

"Those two shots could not have felt any better," Wallace said. "That's part of the game though, you will have shots that go in and out."

The first was a potential go-ahead jumper that would have put Detroit up by one point with 33 seconds left, and the second would have tied the game with 15 seconds to play.

"Rasheed had two great looks and they just came out," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "What I liked is that he played like a force out there."

Joe Smith, who scored 13 points off the bench, hit one of two free throws and Thomas added another to seal the win.

Chicago's bench was also a big reason for the win as it outscored Detroit's reserves, 31-13.

"Eight turnovers from our bench hurt us," Saunders said. "If we would have had our normal 11 or 12, we would have been fine."