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Pistons 104, Bulls 98: post-game stub

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Not much to say. The Bulls need their backcourt to be really good nearly all the time, and both Rose (foul trouble all night) and Gordon (getting fouled with no call trouble) had issues with officiating. Neither could guard Rodney Stuckey, with Hughes and Thabo (yuck, some defensive stopper) joining them in those ranks.

Luol Deng was terrible. Same story as much of the season in terms of his being lost in this offense, and lately it seems he's getting stripped a lot when trying to make up for it when he does get the ball. Defensively, in the second half he was owned by Tayshaun Prince for the umpteenth time in their careers.

At least Tyrus Thomas was back, got a lot of minutes, and played well. He was a bit jumper-happy but did finally start diving to the rim after setting picks, usually drawing a foul.

Noah received the starting nod over Aaron Gray tonight, and didn't do much with it. I actually think he did a nice job on Rasheed to start the second half, to the point where 'Sheed received a technical arguing against the tactics Noah was using, and then forced up bad shots against him to try and coax Noah into fouls.

And again, the modest success of small-ball in a previous game led to Vinny trying it again when it wasn't necessary. Thomas was back, no need to see Deng/Noc as PF/C, ever. It wasn't a very long stretch, but considering how bad the defense is normally, those stretches make things even worse. Nocioni had a good offensive game which earned him his minutes, but I think Vinny fails to realize that going small doesn't mean you have to punt the idea of defending the rim, it can merely mean playing 3 guards, having Noc as PF, or having Thomas/Noah as the only big. Not the 6'9" and under squad.

The re-appearance of the Larry Hughes we know and hate continues...he had a nice shooting first half, but had some patented rushed shots in the 2nd when the Bulls were closing in, and hasn' t shot well from three in the last half-dozen games. Gordon behaves the same way sometimes when the team is down, but his shots go in far more often.

And despite random spurts of getting the deficit within single digits, the Bulls never led in this game.