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CHICAGO (AP) –Nikola Vučević scored 22 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls routed the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday night.

DeRozan remained seated for most of the last 16 minutes, but still added seven assists. Chicago, leader of the Eastern Conference, won after their best streak of nine straight games ended Sunday in Dallas.

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“In the second half we understood how we should have started the game,” said DeRozan.

Josh Jackson scored 16 points and Saddiq Bey added 14 for the Pistons, who had won two in a row.

The Bulls led 61-52 in intermission and quickly turned it into a blowout by starting the second half on a 17-0 streak that included four consecutive 3-pointers – two each from Derrick Jones Jr. and Vučević .

Vučević missed five of his first six shots but ended the night 10 for 18 from the floor. It was 7 for 9 in the third.

“He’s a guy who can correct the course. He just gets it right, ”said coach Billy Donovan. “In the third trimester, you kind of saw the whole package.”

The Pistons helped dig the hole by missing their first seven shots and returning the ball three times in the four-minute streak.

Detroit only managed 14 points in the third quarter and trailed 97-66 in the end.

Lonzo Ball added 18 points and Zach LaVine had 10 points and nine rebounds as Chicago claimed their ninth straight home victory. The Bulls were also able to rest their regulars in the final period to prepare for a two-game streak that includes visits to Brooklyn – their closest pursuer in the East – and Golden State.

This latest game was scheduled for a national TV show after Chicago started the season with just a handful of such dates.

“You do your job well, you get a raise,” DeRozan said of the increasing attention. “You have to put yourself in a position where you have to be seen. I feel like this is where we are.

The Bulls took the lead in earnest early in the second quarter with a 9-2 run that included a pair of DeRozan baskets. He collected 14 points in the first half.

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DeRozan’s only triple-double came in the 2018-19 season with San Antonio.

Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, the first pick in last year’s draft, scored a career-high 29 points the night before but struggled Tuesday. He spent the last six minutes of the first half on the bench after committing his third personal foul and ended the night with eight points on 3 of 11 shots and six turnovers.

SHORT BREAK

Detroit coach Dwane Casey was back on the bench on Tuesday, one night after watching the team’s victory over Utah on television. Casey said a COVID-19 test on Sunday morning came back positive, but two subsequent tests – one Sunday, another yesterday – were negative.

“I think it was a false positive,” said Casey, who added that he had received all recommended vaccines and was taking special precautions due to his asthma. “I tell everyone, get yourself vaccinated and get boosted.”

ADVICE

Pistons: Casey said he expects the newly acquired C Bol Bol to start training on Wednesday, two days after the team traded Rodney McGruder and a second-round pick in the upcoming draft in Denver . … The coach did not have a schedule for the return of Jerami Grant (right thumb) or Kelly Olynyk (left knee).

Bulls: G Alex Caruso has missed his ninth consecutive game and his third since entering the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol. Donovan said Caruso “is progressing and going in the right direction”, but would not say when the team expects him to return to the pitch. Caruso missed the first six games recovering from a sprained left foot. … Chicago has won 10 straight games with Detroit.

FOLLOWING

Pistons: Welcome to Toronto Friday.

Bulls: Host Brooklyn Tuesday.

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