Tyrus Thomas didn't just help spearhead an improbable comeback Tuesday night at the United Center.
He further flamed a debate.
The Bulls' 107-02 victory over the Pistons doesn't happen without Thomas' monstrous fourth quarter, Ben Gordon's four-point play and Derrick Rose's continued wizardry, all of which helped erase a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit and a 10-point deficit with 3 minutes, 34 seconds remaining.
Thomas scored eight of his 22 points and four of his 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter of his sixth double-double in seven games. The best stretch of the third-year pro's career continues to raise questions whether or not an Amare Stoudemire trade should be made.
Gordon, meanwhile, opened a different debate on whether Rose should continue to take last shots, pushing the sellout crowd of 21,896 into delirium when his four-point play with 16.7 seconds remaining put the Bulls ahead 105-102.
But this was a night for harmony, not harping on nit-picky elements in the suddenly surging Bulls. They outscored a Pistons team playing without a flu-ridden Allen Iverson 36-17 in the fourth quarter.
"That has been our Achilles heel the whole season, trying to get a 'W' when the game is on the line," Gordon said. "To come back like we did against a team like the Pistons should give us a lot of confidence."
Playing their first home game since a brutal 20-point loss to Toronto on Jan. 23, the Bulls trailed 100-90 when Rose scored five points in a quick 9-0 run.
Rasheed Wallace, who scored nine straight points when Detroit scored on seven straight third-quarter possessions that opened some breathing room, then took Joakim Noah into the post and drew a foul, making both free throws with 1:00 remaining.
Rose scored on a driving layup with 46.1 seconds left and the Bulls then forced Wallace into an air ball on a deep baseline shot. Thomas grabbed the rebound with 31 seconds remaining.
Wallace then blocked Rose's driving layup, but Rose gathered the rebound and fed Gordon, who got fouled by Rodney Stuckey with 16.7 seconds to go as he swished his three-pointer directly in front of the Pistons' bench.
"I was open for a couple of seconds so I was just hoping he saw me," Gordon said. "I hadn't hit a shot like that in awhile. It felt good to help the team win."
Detroit opted for a quick score, but Richard Hamilton, who led Detroit with 30 points, threw a pass that bounced off Antonio McDyess' hands with 10.6 seconds remaining.
Andres Nocioni capped the improbable comeback with two free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining.
Gordon's 24 points led the Bulls. Noah added 12 points and 16 rebounds.
About the only downer came when Rose retreated to the locker room before the final buzzer after smashing his face in a McDyess screen. Rose said he felt fine afterward—kind of like the Bulls.
"Even though we didn't play great all four quarters, we stuck together through adversity," Noah said. "We're more confident and playing better together."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times