Fred Hoiberg might as well update his pop culture references to something merely 10 years old.
There’s a ship sinking in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but it’s not in Chicago. Both them and the Pistons came into Monday night in desperate circumstances, but it was only the Bulls who played desperately, riding an insane first half performance to a 113-82 victory.
Chicago blitzed Detroit from the Pistons from the tip, hitting every midrange look and getting the rebounds when they didn’t. And though that first unit kicked things off to a 25-13 lead, it was the bench who really opened things up with beautiful basketball and an ever-increasing lead. Doug McDermott started the game 5/6, and the returning Nikola Mirotic was 4/5, as both Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were fantastic facilitating them for open looks.
By the end of the first half, it was a bloodbath. The Bulls had scored 69 points, the identical amount they scored their entire last game (nice). The lead was 35 points, the largest by any team in the NBA so far this season, and the largest for the Bulls since 1996.
72% shooting from the field, 67% from three, and gobs of assisted baskets led by Rajon Rondo’s ten. The offense helped drive the defense, as the Pistons had to keep walking the ball up the court after taking it out of the basket. Take this in contrast to the Bucks games, where they were frequently cross-matched and confused defensively and getting run on all over the place. And Detroit on their possessions would usually quickly fall apart trying to force things to Andre Drummond, who was absolutely bested in the center matchup by Robin Lopez on both ends.
Tonight, it was the Bulls doing the running.
Even these Bulls couldn’t blow a 35 point halftime lead, though I have to admit I must’ve been worried a bit because seeing Taj Gibson hit a couple early baskets had removed all doubts.
As a wise (?) man once said, fun is winning and winning is fun. The Bulls were feeling down but found a team feeling worse, and Chicago made sure early it’d be their night to turn things around, at least for one game.