Zach LaVine scored a career-high 51 points, but Jalen Duren led the Detroit Pistons to a 118-102 victory on Saturday night. Duren finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
“I’m feeling really comfortable in my second season, but that’s not because of me,” said Duren, who doesn’t turn 20 until Nov. 18. “My teammates and coaches have helped me make the game a lot easier.”
LaVine’s performance marked the first 50-point game of the NBA season and made him the first player from the Bulls to score 50 points without dishing out an assist since Michael Jordan on November 6, 1996, against the Miami Heat.
“It’s our third year here together, and we know how this business is,” LaVine said. “We all love each other. DeMar (DeRozan) is one of my best friends, and we talk all the time, but we have to figure out how to make this work.”
Due to back spasms, LaVine had to be declared out of the game.
“You know me,” he said. “I’m going to play.”
The Pistons defeated the Bulls in 15 games thanks to 25 points and 10 assists from Cade Cunningham, who also had 18 points from the bench.
LaVine, who finished the game with 39 points on 19 of 32 shots, added 20 more in the third quarter, but the Pistons led 84–77 thanks to a 3-pointer by Jaden Ivey at the clock.
After a three-point play by Cunningham to open the fourth quarter, Burks added another three-pointer to make the final score 13 points. With 8:33 remaining, LaVine scored 10 points to help the Bulls draw even at 95-89.
However, LaVine didn’t receive enough offensive support, and the Bulls were unable to muster enough stops. With 2:30 remaining, Cunningham sank two free throws to make the score 109-97, and the Pistons held on to win.
The Pistons had a 57-45 lead and shot 60.5% from the field. LaVine scored zero points in the second quarter after scoring 19 in the first. With nine points apiece from Burks and Marvin Bagley III, Detroit held a 25–12 advantage in bench points.
In NBA/ABA history, Duren’s 22nd double-double broke a tie with LeBron James for the third most by a teenager. Dwight Howard finished with 46, and Moses Malone finished with 50.