The Chicago Bulls decided to start slow and keep playing instead of doing the opposite, and their strategy worked. After a difficult first quarter, in which the Detroit Pistons took a 25-20 lead, the Bulls took an overwhelming lead in the second and third quarters.
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The Bulls scored more points in the fourth quarter than their opponent! Considering the Bulls have played shorthanded in 14 of their last 16 games, the 25-21 score in the fourth quarter seemed like a small moral victory for the Bulls. Chicago took advantage of an even score and Jerami Grant was the only NBA player on the Pistons’ side to pull away with a 100-86 victory and cut the season deficit to 19-22. This is the sixth consecutive win against Detroit.
If you read in the last paragraph of Factoride that the Bulls have played in 14 of their last 16 games in the fourth quarter with too little, you were probably right to assume they were not doing well. Even if it was 500 in these games, it certainly isn’t. For the game against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls needed to dominate the Pistons to get a good win. A third loss in a row would have been tough, but a win by a few points would have been worse.
The Bulls didn’t get a 30-point performance from Zach LaVine, but they got baskets from every player on the floor. LaVine still led all scorers with 18 points on a night when he played just 32 minutes and did not shoot well. Behind him, Lori Markkanen scored 16 points and Patrick Williams 10. They were the only bullpen in double figures. In the bucket distribution that all Bulls players provided, they shot the ball efficiently, with 46.3% from the field and 50% from three.
Patrick Williams quickly stood out among the crowd. He stole the first ball, which the Pistons won, and dunked it seven seconds into the game. Then he made a few more drives and cuts that brought him closer to the rim, finishing the first half with eight points on 4/4 shooting. Then he made another throw for the game.
He finished the game with 10 points on 5/5 shooting, but you get the feeling that on a night like this he could have gone all the way to the opponent. Instead, he became passive, even when players like LaVine were trying to find the back of the net. Williams keeps bragging about his potential, but never shows the aggression needed to make a big impact on games. That should develop over time, and I always take a guy who shoots 100% and scores in double figures with seven boards and two blocks.
CDT will take on Utah State in a 30-11 Jazz game tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in the United Bulls Center. The Jazz are currently in first place in the Western Conference and are a real contender. Anyway, if the Bulls can handle the Pistons, I’m sure the Jazz will be just as easy. As always, my friends, stay on top of the latest Bulls news with Bulls On Tap articles, analysis and podcasts.
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