MANILA, Philippines – Reigning league MVP Derrick Rose hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, and the visiting Chicago Bulls pushed past the Detroit Pistons in the extra period to win 100-94.
Rose had a team-high 24 points and drained a three-pointer with 6.4 seconds to go in regulation that tied the game at 86-all.
The Bulls took control of the game for good in overtime when Joakim Noah tipped in his own miss, and Carlos Boozer followed it with a driving lay-up to put Chicago ahead 92-89.
"Derrick hit a huge shot at the end of the game and it gave us a new life," Noah told NBA.com. "It was a big win for us. In overtime, we just felt like it was our game."
Noah finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds, while Boozer had 15 points and nine boards.
The Pistons could have won the game in regulation but Rodney Stuckey missed a free throw with 14.2 seconds to go that could have given Detroit a four-point advantage.
Stuckey finished with 32 points to lead all scorers, but he missed three free throws in the final two minutes of regulation, the last of which led to Rose’s game-tying three pointer. He also missed a potential game-winning jump shot at the buzzer.
"We did everything we needed to win the other than actually winning the game," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank lamented. "We made a ton of winning plays, but in this league it is all or nothing, and at the end, the outcome is a loss."
Despite hitting the game-tying three-pointer, Rose still struggled at times. He shot nine-of-22 from the floor and committed seven turnovers.
"We have a good team where I'm trying to catch up with my teammates, trying to play as hard as them, trying to get my rhythm back and they allow me to," Rose said. "They give me the ball in situations that I was in before the injury and I’m just trying to learn my way through it."
Rose has missed several games this season due to various ailments, including a groin injury that held him out for over 10 games.
The Bulls remain 3.5 games ahead of the Miami Heat for the top spot in the East with six games remaining in their schedule.
Short-handed Celtics rout Bobcats
Despite playing without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the Boston Celtics still easily defeated the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats, 94-82.
Rajon Rondo had 20 points and had his 22nd straight game with double-digits assists with 16 dimes to lead Boston.
Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass each scored 22 points, and the Celtics sent the Bobcats to their 16th loss in a row.
"When somebody is out, we have a group of guys who will step up. Tonight it was me and Avery, but with this team it could be anybody," Bass told NBA.com. "We got a veteran group."
"It was a terrific win. Rajon, Avery and Brando stepped up for us tonight on the offensive end. It was a great team win and makes everyone in that locker room feel good about themselves and realize what they mean to this team," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
The 16-game losing streak is the Bobcats’ second of the season. They remain stuck at seven wins against 52 losses. If they lose their seven remaining games, they will set the record for the lowest winning percentage in NBA history.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors surprised the playoffs-bound Atlanta Hawks, 102-86.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 23 points, and Toronto dominated the paint, 46-28, even without power forward Andrea Bargnani.
Only Josh Smith was efficient for the Hawks as he scored 26 points on top of eight rebounds. No other Hawks started scored in double-figures.