This is what the Detroit Pistons, with their heavy frontcourt of Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, have been waiting for; a team that puts on the same limited lineup, without a real small forward. The Chicago Bulls, because of yet another injury to a key player, were forced into it, resulting in a 92-75 win for the Pistons, who lost to the Bulls by 20 points just over a week ago.
The Bulls, without Luol Deng, not to mention Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, had to use Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in the same lineup. Maybe they’re not inferior to the trio the Pistons use, but they’re a lot less accustomed to playing together. It didn’t result in pretty numbers for either side, but Chicago, without another playmaker that’s going to need some time and recover, were looking more sluggish than ever on offense. The Pistons, at least, had Brandon Jennings.
Jennings scored 33 points, enjoying the thin air on the perimeter, having a wild 5-of-8 from beyond the arc game. While Monroe, Drummond and Smith combined to shoot only 28.1% from the field as they battled against the Bulls in the paint, the Pistons had enough outside shooting and depth, something that doesn’t even exist and no one knows the meaning of in Chicago right now, to make this game easy in the end, thanks to a 24-9 third quarter.
He made plays when we really needed him to make plays — and I think that’s where he’s evolving. We need him to play like and shoot the ball the way he’s capable of shooting the ball.
It was Detroit’s first victory in Chicago since Feb. 24, 2006, losing 14 in a row since then. At 10-10, this team has plenty of problems with the way they look on offense, beginning with no one telling Josh Smith to stop shooting from the outside, finishing with 2-of-11 from the field, dropping to 38.7% from the field this season, but in the East it’s good enough to be almost a contender.
The Pistons found it very difficult to finish on the inside against the aerial defense provided by Gibson and Noah, but the Bulls didn’t have their usual rotations on defense, allowing them to make life very difficult for outside shooters. The Pistons finished with 12-of-19 from beyond the arc, as Kyle Singler provided some big help to Jennings from the bench with 12 points and two three pointers.
We had a hard time scoring, we had a hard time covering the (3-point) line. It’s the challenge of the league. You have a good win, and then the thing that you’re concerned with is how quickly everything can change. We lose a guy, and now you’re starting a different group, then your bench changes
The Bulls might be one of the most perplexing teams in the league, beating the Heat by 20 points before losing to Detroit by 17. The Pistons might be one of the most predictable and easy to read, at least on offense, but it doesn’t make them very easy to stop.