CHICAGO (AP) — They lost their star and they lost one of their best supporting players. The Chicago Bulls never lost their way, though.
Now, they have home-court advantage for at least one playoff series and the lead in the race for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Taj Gibson added 17, and the Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-98 for their seventh straight win on Friday night.
Carlos Boozer finished with 18 points. Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored all of his 14 in the second half, and the Bulls kept their longest win streak of the season going.
They moved a game ahead of Atlantic Division leader Toronto for third in the East, with the Raptors losing to the New York Knicks. The Bulls also clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with Brooklyn falling to Atlanta.
"Right now, we're just focused on basketball and making plays for each other, moving forward and getting better," Gibson said. "That's the only thing we're focused on right now. Everything that's gonna come with success is gonna come. But right now, we remember how nobody was on our bandwagon at the beginning of the year, how that felt."
The bandwagon started to empty out once Derrick Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee in November, cutting short his comeback after the former MVP sat out last season following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. There was even more room on it after the Bulls dealt Luol Deng to Cleveland in early January. But rather than come apart, they came together.
The Bulls lead the Eastern Conference with 35 victories since Jan. 1, and the latest sure was a wild one.