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Bulls Lose to Depleted Pistons

Why does this keep happening?

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Bulls took on a Pistons team that traded a good chunk of their rotation for Reggie Jackson, who was not available for the game. The Pistons are not a good basketball team and they were not at full strength. They kicked the Bulls' butts, anyway. Chicago made it closer than it really was down the stretch by employing the hack-a-Drummond strategy, but really, Detroit dominated Chicago.

Derrick Rose got thoroughly outplayed by rookie Spencer Dinwiddie, a guy who was starting for the first time in his career. Rose scored 8 points on 9 shots, had 6 turnovers to just 2 assists and was a team worst -19 for the night. Frankly, Rose looked disengaged and appeared to be coasting somewhat tonight. He started out attacking out of the gate, but then abruptly stopped and didn't do much the rest of the way, save turning it over.

Taj Gibson had a pretty good stat line, but to my eyes, got bullied a bunch by Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond on both ends of the floor. He also continued his annoying habit of freaking out about every single call that didn't go his way.

Pau Gasol, predictably, played poorly against the Pistons' big, strong front line, scoring 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting and notching only 8 rebounds with 3 turnovers. His counterpart, Andre Drummond grabbed 20 (!) rebounds, 9 of which were offensive. That's just way too many second chance opportunities to allow one guy to get for his team.

Joakim Noah also struggled with the Pistons front line as he missed 3 shots from the immediate basket area. Still, Noah's activity level was pretty good as he grabbed 14 boards and had 4 assists. On the other hand, he also turned the ball over 4 times.

That was really the theme of the game. The Bulls were incredibly sloppy with the ball all night, turning it over a crazy 20 times, leading to 26 Detroit points. The Pistons, on the other hand, turned it over only 12 times and the Bulls were only able to convert those possessions into 11 points. The Pistons were repeatedly able to get out in transition and score easy buckets before the Bulls could set their defense. Detroit had 22 fast break points to the Bulls' 15 and the difference felt even greater than that while watching.

Kirk Hinrich played pretty well, something I hardly ever get to say, so there that is. Mike Dunleavy, on the other hand, had an awful game going 0 for 5 from the floor and only notching 1 rebound in 18 minutes. He was benched for the entire fourth quarter as Thibs rode with Kirk and Tony Snell. Speaking of Snell, he seemed to revert to the bad version of himself, so that's worrying. He was 0-2 from 3 and produced very little (2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 turnover) in his 15 minutes of playing time. His threes seemed to miss really badly. Sadly, I think the All Star break cooled him off. More seriously, it's probably just regression to his true shooting level. No one shoots that well forever, except Kyle Korver.

Jimmy Butler was the only Bull that had a great game. There was a stretch in the second quarter where it looked like the Bulls might blow the Pistons out and that was largely because the Bulls ran the offense through Jimmy. He was finding cutters all over (especially Taj) as he notched 5 assists in the quarter without turning it over once. That's something of which I'd like to see more, especially as ball security continues to be a problem for Rose.

This one hurt to lose, especially with the Cavs blowing the Wizards out of the water tonight. I want no part of the Wizards in the first round and if the Bulls keep blowing games like this they could easily find themselves in that 4-5 series against Washington. Yuck.