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Bulls vs. Pistons final score: wire-to-wire victory led by Derrick Rose

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose returned after a long weekend recovering from ankle issues and looked pretty good tonight. It's weird to say he wasn't great, but perhaps it's more accurate to say he looked great at times but had enough look pedestrian to lessen the overall grade a bit. But honestly, that's probably good news as it shows he has a higher ceiling than even a 25 point, 7 assist, in 32 minutes night in him going forward.

Rose had a burst to both start and end the game, and though he finished 9-20 shooting it was good to see even Rose at, let's guess, 80% of full capacity still look like a definite game-changer. Especially against the small-PG duo of Brandon Jennings and former Bull DJ Augustin, Rose rightly looked on a different level in getting inside for himself and others. The 3-point shot still looks kinda gross, and he looked a step slow defensively, but he also showed what he can do: including JUMP-PASSES

Rose even resumed his role as savior of the offense, as after a scintillating first half (60 points on 53% shooting) the Bulls went about 18 minutes in the 2nd half shooting sub-30% and seeing their lead dwindle from 19 to 5. Though Rose had entered the game at the 9:30 mark, that lead got as small as 2, but it was with Rose and some new help that they scored enough baskets to win it. Pau Gasol hit a jumper, Rose hit Jimmy Butler (seems like a new player, just go with me here) for one of his 4 three-pointers, then had a brutalizing post-up and paint finish himself over Augustin to keep this a wire-to-wire victory for Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Pistons certainly get credit for making this a contest near the end, but ultimately couldn't get out of their own way. I didn't think the Bulls defense and rebounding was magically fixed as much as the Pistons couldn't hold on to the ball (15 turnovers), was unsure of what to do when they got it, and struggled to finish around the rim. Not to be lazy in the analysis here, but the stereotypes of Josh Smith were kind of true. He was one Piston who was sure of himself, but in a bad way.


Smith was part of the Pistons jumbo-lineup that saw him play small forward, and you can add another notch to Jimmy Butler's belt as he more than adequately guarded the much bigger Smith, whose numbers (8-19 shooting) were actually better than how he looked given the context of the shot selection.

Meanwhile, while Andre Drummond doesn't have the stink on him like Smith, he's simply not good either (and starting to think he won't ever be given the lack of shooting), and tonight he went 0-5 in 36 minutes. Between he, Smith, and Monroe, the Bulls looked to be in trouble going into this game given their season-long struggles on the glass, but Chicago out-rebounded Detroit holding them to a 18.3% offensive rebound rate.

From the Bulls frontcourt, that late jumper by Gasol was only one of two baskets he had in the second half, but Pau started strong with 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime, including a couple nice striding hooks in the lane. Joakim Noah had his second straight game of putting up a solid line (13 and 12 in 31 minutes) but not looking good physically. Noah hit a couple jumpers as the Pistons dared him to shoot, but was blocked 3 times at the rim and hit the deck on several other occasions, keeping a season-long trend of looking like he can't run up and down the court like last season yet.

Gibson was the constant as Noah and Gasol alternated down the stretch, though he finished with a quiet 8 points. The bench overall didn't produce much, outside of a fun battle between Aaron Brooks and the guy he replaced, as Augustin bested him 8-7 in the 2nd quarter. McDermott and Mirotic did nothing in their combined 10 minutes, and though they held their own as a unit they didn't get a chance in the 2nd half. This was the first game of the season the Bulls had their whole roster available, though Rose and Noah were on minutes restrictions.