Bulls 92, Pistons 85: Given the current state of the team, a must-win that was won

 

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Detroit 86.0 98.8 41.0% 26.9 37.0 17.4
Chicago 107.0 50.7% 31.9 34.3 19.8

 

Ugh, that was a terribly boring night of basketball. Not much of a recap is needed, the Bulls opened up the game huge with a 23-6 lead (credit for coming out strong given they were on a 4 game losing streak) and never trailed. They likely saw a Pistons team missing Hamilton, Prince, and Villenueva and realized they weren't going to be threatened offensively, and played like it.

Not that there weren't some good performances. I don't know how anyone can say any team with John Salmons should be in transition more (does anyone kill fast breaks with such regularity?), but he shot well, hit 3-4 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Brad Miller had his first solid game in a long while, and his six assists included two lobs to Derrick Rose (shame Rose's one attempt at a lob - this season? - didn't convert). And, of course: Noah rules.

They actually weren't that bad from an efficiency standpoint tonight on offense, but maybe it's just seeing 11 more minutes of Lindsey Hunter (egads, I think VDN thinks he 'found something' here), Hunter-Pargo together, Taj fouling out in under 20 minutes...this team is going to be very bad for the next few games, so it was good they got a team worse (and more banged up) than them tonight, and got the win.

This Pistons team looked really inept, their remaining guards of Gordon, Stuckey, and Bynum each were ballhogging and missing, and any time Chucky Atkins was in there was a disaster. And apparently the renaissance of Ben Wallace took a break tonight (maybe he's just so used to nights off in the UC?).

The big sidestory* in this game was, of course, the return of Gordon. The in-house crowd was split maybe 65/35 boos, which is a pretty pathetic referendum on any hoops sophistication in this town. But I likely should've expected it, and given that they were more enthusiastic seeing Cuppy Coffee win the Dunkin Donuts race on the jumbotron than in booing Gordon, it stopped bothering me. It's not like the crowd at these games is exactly a 'hardcore' sampling of fan. Though they didn't get their free big macs tonight, they did see a game where Gordon (not looking 100% on the ankle) had chances to get his team back into the game (with the Bulls blessing) but instead shot them out of it. He was 2-8 from three and missed a lot of makeable up-close shots, as our vaunted tall guard couldn't really stay with him, and Lindsey Hunter seemed really determined to get into the scoresheet as much as possible through fouling.

But yeah, there was some shaky dribbling, ill-advised leaners, barreling into the lane, outsized on defense....but watching it from the other side, I still missed the guy. At least he'd make these games less excruciating to watch.

*(And as an emerging sidestory, James Johnson again with the DNP-CD)

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