Chicago Bulls, NBA - Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons - Posted end of 1st Quarter
Theo Ratliff starting due to the injury to Rasheed Wallace. Both the Pistons and Bulls start off a bit cold. Bulls 3 quick fouls on Detroit in the first 2 minutes. Flip Saunders is 162-64 as Detroit Pistons Head Coach, which is sensational, but they are looking to him for post-season success.
Bulls allowing Detroit too many second chances on offense. Larry Hughes playing tough defense on Chauncey Billups-good effort by Hughes. Larry Hughes definitely adds extra shooting punch for the Bulls. Pistons begin game 1-8 shooting. Hinrich again early foul trouble, out with 2 in first 5 minutes.
Billups blows by Ben Gordon for layup and free throw. Story of the Chicago Bulls -always worked over by bigger NBA guards. Drew Gooden looks tentative, missing on some ill-looking shots. Pistons 9-9 from the line. Billups hits big 3-pointer in corner to put Pistons up 16-12.
Bulls beginning to look confused on offensive end. Billups 10 points. Joakim Noah very nice move in the paint and the foul. Like fresh air to see a Bulls big man making an offensive move with authority. Shannon Brown looking very good with Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich on the bench with foul trouble. He will get some playing time tonight.
Pistons killing Bulls on offensive boards, even without Sheed. Richard Hamilton sinks a 3-pointer as a result, Detroit Pistons up 21-17. Pistons beginning to pull away at end of Quarter, hitting their shots while Bulls are running cold.
Detroit Pistons 29, Chicago Bulls 19
Chicago Bulls, NBA - Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons - Halftime Post
Chicago Bulls outrebounded by Detroit Pistons 16-8 in the 1st Quarter. Aaron Gray looked awful in his few minutes. Joakim Noah back in after only a few minutes rest. Pistons up 31-19, and if Bulls are not careful, this could get out of hand.
Tyrus Thomas playing quiet minutes tonight. Big question where the offense is going to come from at this rate. Luol Deng put in as shooting guard-interesting move by Coach Boylan. Deng went right away to post up smaller Detroit guard. That is something I was desperate to see Luol Deng do this season. Bulls being careless with the ball, committing silly turnovers.
Ben Gordon with high-arc jumper to bring Bulls to within 9, 34-25. Bulls must do better job on boards. Gordon another jumper-getting warmer. Gordon a 3-pointer. 34-30 Pistons-time out Detroit Pistons.
If only Ben Gordon could be more consistent-he would be an all-star for sure. The guy is instant offense. Billups hits an open jumper on 2nd-chance shot. Bulls got close and then the Pistons starters are back-back to 6 point lead (38-32). Billups another key jumper after spirited Bulls defensive stand.
Pistons methodical with Billups/Hamilton quietly working over smaller Bulls guards. Drew Gooden scoreless, doing his best Ben Wallace impersonation. Bulls just look plain outclassed, like Pistons can roll whenever they want to.
Detroit up 49-37, but Luol Deng dunks open under the basket. Theo Ratliff strong on the boards tonight. Billups a crushing 3-pointer. . . . Mr. Big Shot at it again, 20 points on the night.
Detroit Pistons 54, Chicago Bulls 43
Chicago Bulls, NBA - Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons - Posted End of 3rd Quarter
Ben Gordon the only reason the Chicago Bulls are still in this game, going 6-6 from the field. Pistons outrebounding Bulls 27-15 at the Half, translating to 13-4 2nd-chance points in favor of Detroit.
Luol Deng nice set play to open the second-half, cutting the lead to 9. Deng being aggressive, taking it to the basket. Luol Deng should do more of this, as it is one of the best dimensions to his game.
Bulls down by 7 with 9:00 left, but you feel like the Pistons can just turn it on when they want to. They look bored at times, waiting for the NBA Playoffs, maybe. 4th foul on Kirk Hinrich-he seems to always be in foul trouble.
60-54 Pistons, and Bulls are hanging around. Joakim Noah again taking it to the hole, another nice post move. Detroit offense has gone cold for the past few minutes, while Bulls look more fluid on the offensive end. Bulls are taking it to the basket, unlike the first-half. The Pistons may be beginning to miss the presence of Rasheed Wallace at this point.
Timeout for the Pistons as they lead, but by only 2, 62-60. Chauncey Billups with 23 points middle of the 3rd quarter. Billups said that the Detroit Pistons are still the team to beat, although they lost recently to the only team above them in the NBA East, the Boston Celtics. Tayshaun Prince hurt his right elbow, but will stay in the game to shoot his free throws. It feels like the Pistons are up by 20, but it is 66-60 Detroit. Pistons go to zone, to try and combat Bulls taking it to the basket. Bulls are not the best when defenses get into zone coverage against them. Game has slowed considerably.
I guess Prince is OK as he hits 3-pointer. Zone is in, and the Bulls are more than happy to start taking jump shots. The Chicago Bulls are nothing if not lovers of jump shots to begin with. Andres Nocioni hits a three to bring it to 69-66, while Billups answers with a jumper of his own. Prince with a left-handed jam, 75-67 Pistons.
Ben Gordon 7-7 from the field, and he is keeping the Bulls in this game. Larry Hughes drives one to the basket-he has been quiet. Things are getting physical, as Gordon got smacked for the 2nd time in about a minute taking it to the hole.
Detroit Pistons 81, Chicago Bulls 78
Chicago Bulls, NBA - Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons - Posted End of 4th Quarter
Chauncey Billups with 29 points early in 4th. Larry Hughes with circus shot, taking it to the basket to bring Bulls to 83-80. Chicago Bulls defense falters two possessions in a row. Tayshaun Prince dunks in empty paint to give Pistons 6 point lead.
Bulls are taking it more inside, even against the zone, which is a good sign. Kirk Hinrich has been a non-factor with 4 fouls. He has a habit of disappearing at times. Deng and Noah 2 on 1 break off of Luol Deng steal brings it to 91-90 Pistons, 8:00 left.
Detroit Pistons get the big shot when they need it. Tayshaun Prince answers with open deuce. The best teams always get the 2nd shot, the big defensive stop. Deng's dunk gives him 17. Ben Gordon hits another jumper, 98-94 Pistons.
1995-1996 was the last time the Chicago Bulls swept the Detroit Pistons in the season series (4-0), and if the Bulls win tonight this feat will be duplicated. That zone is still giving the Bulls fits. Drew Gooden finally makes his presence felt with a big dunk with 4:00, the free throw making it 102-97 Pistons.
When the Detroit Pistons score 100 points, they are 27-1-they are over 100.
Rip Hamilton with a pretty jumper, 107-99 Pistons with 3:00 left. The Detroit Pistons are just too good, that is why they are in first-place while the Bulls are floundering. Nocioni 3-pointer brings Bulls within 5, 110-105 under 1:00. Missed Pistons shot, and of course an offensive rebound for the Pistons.
Final: Detroit Pistons 116, Chicago Bulls 109
Chicago Bulls, NBA - Pistons Upend Bulls, 116-109
The Detroit Pistons avoided a season sweep at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, as Ben Gordon went for 27 points on 10-12 FG shooting. The backcourt duo of Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were just too much for the Bulls.
Too many offensive rebounds for the Detroit Pistons killed the Chicago Bulls tonight. Guard Chauncey Billups was the story, hitting big shot after big shot to keep the Chicago Bulls at bay. The Bulls have a big problem with Billups, in that Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon are no match for Billups defensively.
Kirk Hinrich was missing in action, playing only 18 minutes and was in constant foul trouble. The Chicago Bulls defense fell to pieces in the 2nd half as the Pistons were able to go in and get easy baskets, filling the lane up on Chicago. No help defenders equal easy baskets. The Pistons led the rebounding department, 42-28.
This is not the work of a playoff team. The Bulls may get in, but it will be because of a weakened NBA East, and teams like the New Jersey Nets and Atlanta Hawks are in the same boat as the Bulls in terms of quality.
The Bulls are now 25-38 on the season, and go home to face the equally tough Utah Jazz, at the United Center on Tuesday night.