After having their winning streak snapped on Sunday in Dallas, the Chicago Bulls were looking for a bounce-back game. Though at home against the lowly Detroit Pistons, the Bulls started off slowly. But then they used a huge third quarter surge to quickly turn the game into a rout. The final quarter was all garbage time as the Bulls ended up winning by 46 with a final score of 133-87.
Eight guys were in double figures as Chicago shot 54.3 percent from the field with 33 assists on 50 makes, and were on fire from three hitting 52.9 percent.
Nikola Vucevic led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds as he bounced back from a rough first half. DeMar DeRozan nearly had a triple double of 20 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Lonzo Ball had 18 with four of his makes coming from downtown. Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White were once again impactful off the bench, scoring 10 and 13 points respectively.
Zach LaVine just had a mere 10 points but provided seven assists and nine rebounds.
Like they have been for the past handful of games, Chicago started off slowly, poor on defensive rotations and failed to box out properly, allowing Detroit to crash the glass. The Pistons took advantage of the second chance opportunities and raced out to an 11-5 lead. Isaiah Stewart had 10 points in the first quarter as Vucevic was struggling to stop him. Billy Donovan immediately went to his bench and looked for a spark, subbing in Dosunmu. His three-pointer in the corner gave Chicago their first lead of the night halfway through the quarter, and a three-point play from Dosunmu plus another by DeRozan kept that lead after one.
Chicago began to get separation in the second quarter. DeRozan kept cooking from the mid-range, LaVine started to knock down some shots, and White continued to provide instant offense, scoring nine points in the quarter. The lead got up to double digits with 4:40 left in the half and went as high as fourteen, yet Detroit kept pushing back, cutting the lead back into single digits. They even got a tip in at the buzzer off of a missed free throw, once again showing the Bulls lack of defensive rebounding. It was a frustrating end to a half where despite Chicago winning, you knew they could be playing much better.
A switch was clearly flipped during halftime. The Bulls went on a 17-0 run within the first five minutes of the third. Vucevic, who had been struggling up until this point, had 14 points in the quarter as his outside shot began falling and it then helped his confidence when playing inside. Chicago continued to turn on the jets despite being up so much, attacking the basket and forcing turnovers.
By the time the quarter ended, it was a 33 point lead for Chicago and the contest had officially reached blowout territory. LaVine nor Vucevic didn’t play for the rest of game while DeRozan was subbed out a minute into the final period, and Ball a couple minutes after that. Eventually the Bulls fully emptied out the rest of their bench and Detroit eventually followed suit. Unlike the Wizards game, that didn’t mean Chicago’s offense went to a screeching halt. In fact the exact opposite happened as the bench guys such as Matt Thomas, Marko Simonovic, and Alfonzo McKinnie got the lead up to 40 and above. Thomas and McKinnie both scored 10 points in the quarter with the former hitting three shots from deep.
Although it was cool to see the Bulls still scoring, what was more important was being able to rest key guys especially with the second game of a back to back coming up.
This was a good win for Chicago. They looked bad at the start of it but quickly flipped the script and dominated after halftime. There are much tougher games ahead for the Bulls and they will need four complete quarters of solid basketball. It starts when the second place Brooklyn Nets come to town tomorrow.