Bulls pick up revenge win over Pistons
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

Bulls pick up revenge win over Pistons

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - When Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley elected to run this roster back for a third straight season, it came with mixed reviews. On paper, the Chicago Bulls (4-6) have a talented roster good enough to make the playoffs, but they are not deep enough to make a deep run. Even with all their talent, the inconsistency of this group has been so frustrating, and Billy Donovan is a big reason to blame for that.

Donovan has always been good when coaching veteran players, but he has lacked the ability to get younger players involved, which has hurt their development. You have seen that over the past few years with Patrick Williams, Dalen Terry, and Ayo Dosunmu, as they haven't played as much as most fans expected them to play. When the Bulls faced the Detroit Pistons (2-9) earlier in the season, it was Detroit who punched the Bulls in the mouth, as the inconsistency mentioned above was on full display in that game.

However, given that these two teams are division rivals, they meet four times throughout the season, which gives the Bulls three additional opportunities to prove they are the better team. Sunday was the first of those opportunities as the Bulls offense struggled out of the gates while the defense allowed too many open looks, which helped the Pistons grab a 31-22 lead after one.

Once the second quarter got underway, it was the Bulls who set the tone on defense and the offense that started to come together as they nearly scored 100 points over those final three quarters. That included a 33-19 second quarter that saw the Bulls erase that first-quarter deficit to grab the lead. They would build on that throughout the second half as Chicago evened the score with the Pistons this season and took care of business 119-108.

That makes three consecutive games where the Bulls offense has started to look like the unit they had hoped it would, and that has to be encouraging for everyone.

Whenever the Bulls win, you immediately gravitate toward the Big Three, as they are the engine that makes this team go. That was again the case on Sunday as Demar DeRozan picked the best time to have his best game of the season. Throughout the first 10 games, you can see that DeRozan has lost a step this season, but he has still done his best to put up good games. DeRozan finally looked like the player from the last two seasons on Sunday as he shot better than 50% from the field and led all scorers with 29 points.

He wasn't alone in having a big game, as the rest of the Bulls Big Three had more points than anyone on the entire Pistons roster. When that happens, you have to like the Bulls chances, as Nikola Vucevic got back to his double-double days with a strong 21-point and 12-rebound showing. Zach Lavine was quiet on Sunday, especially from a distance, but with 19 points, the Bulls scored just under 70 points from their Big Three, which is all you can ask for from your high-paid players.

Those three will continue to shoulder the load for this team offensively, but to take it to the next level, the Bulls will need consistent production from the rest of the roster. Coby White has done his part for the most part this season, and with 16 points and seven assists, White is starting to look more like PG with every passing game. Not having Alex Caruso on the bench was a big blow for this team, but it was time for Dosnumu to step up, as he came away with 13 points. You also had Andre Drummond pick up 11 points and pull down 13 boards as he continues to live up to his reputation on the glass.

In their first meeting of the season, it was the Alec Burks show off of the bench as he was a man on a mission. Early on, Burks was headed in that direction again with eight first-quarter points before finishing the game with 16. He now has 40 points in two games against Chicago this season, which has to be a concern for Chicago. Not only was Burks doing his thing off the bench, but so was Kevin Knox II, whose near-perfect shooting night (7-8) saw him finish with 18 points.

Anytime you get more than 36 points off the bench, you have to consider yourself fortunate, but when 36 points come from two players, most teams love their chances at a win. The problem for Detroit was the 18 points from Knox led the team, as their starting five wasn't very good. Sure, Isaiah Stewart put up another good 17-point, 11-rebound showing, but when your best player, Cade Cunningham, has only 10 points, it is an issue.

Marvin Bagley III added 14 points for the Pistons to give them three starters with at least 10 points, but they were unable to much more than that as the the Bulls defense continues to force turnovers and remains one of the better units in the NBA. Ausar Thompson may get overlooked with his nine points, but his 16 rebounds will tell you differently, as he did a great job on the boards.

In the middle of a stretch where the Bulls not only have a string of winnable games, they are back on the court Monday as they head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks. In the middle of a nine-game stretch, with eight of those games coming at home, this is the lone road game in that stretch, as the Bulls could use a win against a playoff team.

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