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Bulls edge Pistons after Derrick Rose’s 3-pointer forces OT

Derrick Rose Will Bynum

Derrick Rose, Will Bynum

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Updated: May 17, 2012 8:14AM

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — There was blood under the bandage on the bridge of his nose, a noticeable flinch of pain whenever he put weight on his right ankle and the look of a guy who had lost the battle and the war.

‘‘Feels like I played football,’’ guard Derrick Rose mumbled as he finished getting dressed after the Bulls’ 100-94 overtime victory Sunday against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace. ‘‘It was a brawl.’’

And maybe, just maybe, it was exactly what Rose needed. Because
through all the bumps at the
basket, the exchange of words with the Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva
after a flagrant foul and four air balls, Rose was able to deliver when it mattered most.

The Bulls trailed 86-83 with six seconds left when Rose sank a 26-footer to send the game to overtime. They then outscored the Pistons 14-8 in the extra period to escape with the victory.

‘‘I thought they were going to foul, but right when I saw that [Ben Gordon] didn’t foul me and [Greg] Monroe was back some, I just shot the ball,’’ Rose said of his late-game heroics.

It made the air balls he shot
earlier seem almost like distant memories. Almost.

‘‘Oh, no, I’m shooting them; I’m shooting air balls,’’ Rose said when asked if the rust of missed games or his bum right ankle was an excuse. ‘‘That’s not stopping me. If I get the open shot, I’m shooting it.’’

As bad as things looked at times Sunday, especially after the way the Bulls (46-14) seemed to dominate the Pistons early on before letting them back into the game, what mattered most was they escaped. The result kept them 31/2 games ahead of the Miami Heat in the battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

‘‘We feel like it was a good win for us, but we didn’t play great overall, turned the ball over a lot,’’ center Joakim Noah said. ‘‘But we’ll take any win at this point of the year.’’

Noah had a huge say in the vic-
tory, scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, including 13 on the offensive side.

‘‘I just feel like the ball was moving, so it was easier to get offensive rebounds,’’ Noah said. ‘‘I kept flashing, and that was it.’’

Rose finished with a team-high 24 points, but he didn’t score in overtime. Then again, Kyle Korver made it so he didn’t have to. After Carlos Boozer made a layup to put the Bulls ahead by three with two minutes left in the extra period,
Korver made a three-pointer and two free throws to seal the victory.

Now the Bulls will turn their
attention to trying to get healthy before the playoffs.

‘‘We need to make sure we’re clicking because we’ve had a lot of guys out this year,’’ Korver said. ‘‘Health and rhythm — that’s what we need to get this last week.’’

Maybe that’s why Rose was so outspoken about the hard foul by Villanueva.

‘‘I was mad, man,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I’m sick and tired of people trying to take cheap shots at me. I gotta say something.’’

He did with words and actions.

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