What an absolute doozy of a game. Where to start? I mean, it's pretty hard to comprehend what we just witnessed. The overtimes, the fouls, the free throws, the bad shots, the good shots, the crazy stats, the crazy amount of minutes played -- all of it is just straight madness. And obviously, it really sucks to lose a quadruple overtime game.
Give the Pistons plenty of credit, they outlasted the Bulls and made big shot after big shot in the final OT en route to a 147-144 win.
It seemed as though the Pistons found reserve energy in the fourth OT as they scored more points in the final frame (20) than they did in OTs No. 2 and No. 3 combined (11). Reggie Jackson hit a couple of daggers, but none bigger than an aggressive drive to the bucket with 54 seconds remaining. Jackson, for his part, took a bunch of brutal shots with chances to win prior to stepping up in the final OT. Jackson did finish with 31 points -- one of five players in the game to do so -- and 13 assists.
It's weird to say considering this was about as bonkers of a game you'll ever watch in the NBA, but this game got pretty repetitive. Once it reached OT, it essentially became one of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler or Pau Gasol taking a shot out of pick-and-roll or isolation for the Bulls. And for the Pistons, they basically resorted to throwing the ball at the hoop -- sometimes purposefully as a pass, others as an ill-advised shot which turned into a pass -- and hoped Andre Drummond would dunk it.
The Bulls never quit, though. Butler hit a 3-pointer with under five seconds remaining (he almost got fouled, too) which pulled the Bulls within 1. But Reggie Jackson made both free throws; a rarity for the Pistons on this night as they missed 19 of their 46 free throws. Had they simply made a handful of those during the regulation portion of this game, we wouldn't have needed four goddamn overtimes.
It gets lost in the absurdity, but the Bulls were going for their fifth straight win tonight. And to compound matters, tonight started a three-games-in-four-nights stretch for the Bulls, including a back-to-back tomorrow on the road against New York. It's natural to hope Rose, Butler and Gasol see very limited action tomorrow night considering Rose and Butler played 54 (!!!) minutes and Pau wasn't far behind with 48.
The minutes lead me to the one aspect of this game that I think should be taken very seriously amidst all the wonkiness: what the hell was Fred Hoiberg doing tonight? I've reserved judgment because I think a first-year coach, in the context of these Bulls, needs some time to figure things out, but I don't understand a number of his decisions tonight.
- Why didn't he sub hardly at all in the overtimes? Besides a situational here-and-there, Hoiberg played the starters in the extra periods. In no way shape or form should Tony Snell have been out there. I've never seen a basketball player do less in the 38 minutes he played tonight.
- I don't think the Bulls went 2-for-1 at all in any of the overtimes after having multiple opportunities to do so. That's clock management 101 stuff.
- Why didn't he call timeout in the second OT after Detroit missed a shot and left about ~2.5 seconds remaining?
- Are the Bulls ever going to run any sets in crunch time? Like, ever? They did it once and low-and-behold: Pau got an uncontested dunk with ~4 seconds left.
- Why is Derrick Rose allowed to continually take step-back jumpers in these pressure situations? We've seen it enough now, it must end. That's an awful shot every time.
I don't feel wrong or hot-takey to say this loss is on Hoiberg. The players played their asses off. To be fair, Stan Van Gundy did a lot of similar things in terms of coaching mistakes, but also: Stan Van Gundy doesn't have the depth nor the talent Fred Hoiberg has.
Like, Doug McDermott and Joakim Noah -- two of your best players right now -- were no where to be found! I get McDermott was getting torched defensively, I do. It was rough and there's no denying that. But Tony Snell just cannot be on the floor for that long of a time in high pressure situations. Stagger them. Go offense-defense. Do something! Anything!
Yeesh, man. I do think Hoiberg will learn from this, he's already shown a lot of progress and just the other night I praised him. But boy was this bad.
As far as some of the statistics, there's about a million trivial and quirky things. I'll list a few.
- Rose (34), Butler (43) and Gasol (30) combined for 107 points.
- Andre Drummond finished with 33 and 21, which is way less impressive considering that's pretty much an average game for him against the Bulls.
- The Pistons shooting splits tonight: 45.2 percent from the floor (not bad) / 27.6 percent from 3 (eek) / 58.7 percent free throw (/barfs)
Like I said, there's probably a million other statistical and historical anomalies to search and uncover. If you're into that sort of thing, knock your socks off.
Ultimately, this loss was a major gut punch as a fan. It'll be super interesting to see how this team bounces back. The best news is that Rose -- while he's still no where near great -- has been appreciably different since ditching the mask. If nothing else, we should be pleased with his newfound attack mode. Oh, and Joakim Noah is probably the Bulls' most exciting player again. So hey, that's something worth smiling over.