Tolliver scores 25 as Pistons thump Bulls
Detroit — If the Pistons are to have success with their present roster, either this season or next, they’ll need many more games like Saturday’s against the Chicago Bulls.
The Pistons (33-40) rode hot shooting, going 16-of-42 on 3-point attempts, to bury the Bulls, 117-95, at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit was led by forward Anthony Tolliver, who had 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds.
Former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine led the Bulls with a season-high 18 points, including 4-of-7 shooting on 3-pointers. He added three rebounds and three assists.
BOX SCORE: Pistons 117, Bulls 95
Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson each scored 15 for the Pistons, Reggie Bullock had 14, and James Ennis and Luke Kennard each added 13.
Jackson was playing his third game back after missing 37 with a Grade-3 right-ankle sprain suffered in December, and it was his best game since returning. The starting points guard went 5-of-10 from the field and hit two 3-pointers with three rebounds and an assist. His shooting stroke seemed in rhythm, and at times, especially in the fourth quarter, his signature bursting drives to the rack were resulting in quality opportunities.
The Pistons aren’t totally out of the playoff race, but postseason basketball in Detroit is still highly unlikely. The Pistons are 5 1/2 games back of the Milwaukee Bucks, who were idle on Saturday, with nine games left.
The Pistons opened a 14-point lead in the first quarter with the help of hot shooting. They hit 56 percent from the field and 53.3 percent on 3-pointers to gain the early advantage.
Detroit took a 19-point lead into the locker room at halftime and mostly kept pace with the Bulls in the second half. Chicago pushed the basketball up-court often in the second half, leading to some fast break points that prompted Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to take a couple timeouts.
Things got a little testy in the third quarter when the Bulls’ David Nwaba was called for a flagrant foul when he shoved Drummond as Drummond was headed for the basket. Drummond got up quickly and exchanged words with a couple Bulls players.
Stanley Johnson left the game at halftime with a right gluteal strain and did not return. He finished with no points and three rebounds.
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.