- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Suddenly, it’s a series.

Ben Gordon scored 28 points, and the hot-shooting Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 108-92 last night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, pulling to 3-2 in the series.

Detroit opened the second round with two routs and made a big comeback in the third game, making it looked like it would end with a sweep — or in five games at the most.

Obviously, the Bulls had other plans.

“A lot of people were writing us off,” Gordon said. “But we had a lot of confidence in ourselves, and I think that showed in the last two games.”

Game 6 is tomorrow night in Chicago, and if Game 7 is necessary, it would be Monday night back on the Pistons’ homecourt.

The Bulls started the game last night with a sense of urgency and didn’t let up in a game they never trailed.

Chicago only missed one of its first seven shots while holding Detroit to 3-for-9 shooting, and each starter scored to help build a 14-6 lead.

The Bulls made 72.2 percent of their shots in the first half — falling just short of an NBA record.

“It’s tough to shoot 70 percent with no one guarding you in an empty gym, much less doing it in that kind of pressure situation,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “Having a team shooting like that is demoralizing.”

Despite the sensational shooting, Chicago led by just eight at halftime.

The Bulls then turned the game into a rout by outscoring Detroit 33-20 to take a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Unlike the two previous games, the Pistons didn’t rally at all and were frustrated against a team that looked much like the one that swept the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round.

Midway through the fourth quarter, a sellout crowd gave up on a possible rally as the aisles filled with fans leaving and the Bulls leading 101-81.

“When the game’s going on, I’m not sitting there admiring our shooting, but we obviously did a good job,” Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. “We shot very well against Miami, and then for some reason, we couldn’t knock anything down in the first two games here.”

Gordon made shots early and often and had plenty of help.

“I made my first shot, and I was in a good rhythm all night,” said Gordon, who made 10 of 16 shots and missed only one of six 3-pointers. “When I was open, I just let it go.”

Luol Deng scored 20, Kirk Hinrich had 17 and P.J. Brown scored a playoff-high 15.

The Pistons, meanwhile, didn’t have a one consistently effective player on offense and allowed the Bulls to do whatever they wanted at the other end of the court.

Chauncey Billups scored 17, Richard Hamilton had 16 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15, but the trio combined to shoot just 16-for-42.

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