One of the most tired NBA clichés is no lead is ever safe.
But that's extremely true when it comes to one of the most lopsided rivalries in the league.
For the second time this season the Pistons coughed up a 17-point lead to the Bulls and their losing streak against their Central Division rivals reached 17 games with an 85-82 loss before a revved up sell-out crowd at the United Center.
Pistons nemesis Joakim Noah created the winning play when he made a huge effort to save the basketball from going out of bounds.
It went right into the waiting hands of Bulls swingman Marco Belinelli, who scored the winning lay-up with 7.5 seconds left while being fouled by Rodney Stuckey. He nailed the free throw to account for the final score.
Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey missed triples that would have forced overtime, but the game was lost earlier when the Bulls exerted their will.
"We have to maintain our poise, our discipline, our execution at both ends to win the game - especially when you are going against a playoff-tested team like this, on their court," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just have to play with more discipline and poise down the stretch."
The Pistons (16-26) jumped on the Bulls (25-16) at the start of the second half with an 8-0 run to push a nine-point halftime lead to 17.
But the Bulls slowly climbed back in the game and were ignited in the fourth quarter by Nate Robinson, who woke up the slumber United Center crowd.
He scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter – setting the stage for the final play.
Chicago 85, Detroit 82: Pistons blow big lead vs. Bulls
Detroit Free Press | Jan 24