Jerami Grant’s career-high of 43 points was not enough as the Pistons fall to the Bulls 105-102.
Detroit led by 18 at the half and as many as 25 points, but then roles reversed as the Bulls owned the last 24 minutes with strong defense and timely outside shooting led by the always exciting Zach LaVine.
LaVine, who is having the strongest season of his young career, didn’t disappoint the Bulls with 37 points on 22 shots. Rookie Pat Williams and third-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. were integral as well.
Detroit did not offer much support for Grant. Delon Wright shot just nine times in 39 minutes and had turnover and decision-making issues in the second half. Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey, try as they did, didn’t do quite enough.
Here are real-time thoughts during the game tonight:
The first defensive possession sees Detroit leave Zach LaVine WIDE open at top of key for a triple, which Zach drains. He’s a 43% shooter from downtown this season. Don’t leave that guy.
Jerami Grant makes quick and easy work of rookie wing Pat Williams by taking him off the dribble for a bucket in the paint.
Williams responds with a smooth mid-range jumper, and then on a possession soon after, drives by Saddiq Bey and dishes it to Carter Jr. for an easy lay-in.
Delon Wright is active (and in the right place early) with three buckets inside.
23-18 Pistons with over 4 minutes left in the quarter.
Three dunks for LaVine. Detroit’s defense is trailing cutters and not doing a whole lot help-side either.
Detroit is moving the ball crisply and is not forcing things. Josh Jackson just forced a shot, but is bringing needed energy on both ends.
Jerami had his jumper wet early on with three triples and hitting on 5-of-7 from the field overall. Ellington has splashed two triples as well and is making the right reads and passes when he’s getting run off the line.
End of 1st quarter, Pistons up 35-27.
Jackson was denied by Carter Jr. at the rim early in the quarter, but not much deters him. Jackson is cooking on the break and using his quickness and length to get great looks in the paint. 3-of-6 with six rebounds, a block and a couple of steals for Josh so far.
Mason Plumlee finds Bey in the paint with a sharp feed and the Pistons go up 47-27 with just over 6:40 left in the half.
Coming out of the timeout, Chicago gets their first bucket of the quarter.
Coby White goes underneath a Plumlee screen and Dennis Smith Jr. makes him pay with a triple. DSJ has eight points.
Pistons with quick hands and feet and are a couple steps ahead of the Bulls still.
Beautiful fade-away from Jerami. Then next possession, he cans a triple. Pistons up 23. Grant with 18.
Detroit’s biggest lead was 25, then the Bulls make a 9-2 surge in the last minute-plus of the half and draw within 18.
On the last Bulls possession, the Pistons momentarily doubled LaVine at the top of the circle, but then Plumlee dropped back and LaVine was able to fairly easily get the shot he wanted in the paint once getting past Grant. I like the idea of Detroit throwing random doubles at LaVine to hopefully get the ball out of his hands more often (or to force tough, contested jump shots from him) because there doesn’t seem to be much confidence with many of the other guys right now.
Pistons shot 7-of-13 from deep in this half, while the Bulls were just 3-of-14.
Uh oh. Bulls come out more focused on both ends and the Pistons come out sluggish. Bulls start the half with their veteran group, sitting youngsters like White, Williams and Carter Jr.
65-58 Pistons. 4:31 left in the 3rd. The 25-point lead seems a distant memory. How did Detroit get here? Well, missing very makeable shots for one — and a couple of careless turnovers factored in as well. LaVine is heating up … he has 14 of the Bulls’ 18 third-quarter points. He is mostly getting to wherever he wants.
With a couple of minutes left, LaVine steals the ball from Josh and then Josh wraps up LaVine for a little too long and tempers flare, and both get techs. Bulls are within one and Jackson just keeps giving the ball to the wrong team. Jackson with 5 fouls.
The third quarter was a blur. Detroit is outscored 27-12 in the frame. 73-70 Pistons heading into the fourth. Pistons with a lot of one-on-one play and the Bulls are picking their pocket often.
Bulls score six straight right out of the gate to lead 76-73. Timeout.
Detroit is having all sorts of trouble even getting shots up. The Bulls have turned into the Jordan-Pippen Bulls.
Josh with his five fouls is back into the game for Svi. Svi has not had a good evening on offense. About 7 minutes left.
Grant is taking seemingly all of the shots in the fourth and is keeping the Pistons in this one. It’s basically an iso offense. Grant has 32 (tied career-high yet again) and just missed a deep three at the top of the key. Pistons trail 87-83 with 4:32 left.
LaVine with 31 points on 20 shots so far. He’s been lightning quick and decisive. Efficient.
Pat Williams with a couple of impressive and forceful finishes over Plumlee in this second half.
Bey misses an open triple off a Plumlee pass — it hasn’t been Bey’s night.
Grant draws a foul on Thad Young and gets the bucket to go and cashes in the freebie, 91-89 Bulls lead.
LaVine does his thing with a step-back triple. Back down on Detroit’s end Wright gets into trouble and nearly loses the rock. He shovels it off to Bey who hits the open shot.
Now it’s 96-94 Bulls. Grant just scored his 39th point on a tough fade away.
97-94, Bulls lead. Pistons ball, 1:22 left in regulation.
Quite a flurry just now — a trey from each Whte and Williams (Pistons doubled LaVine on top and the other Bulls had to step up) plus a couple spectacular finishes in the paint from Jerami. 43 points. Lefty make, righty make, it didn’t matter.
Bulls are up 103-98 with 28 seconds left.
A little two-man game sees Bey get to the bucket and get Plumlee a decent look. 103-100.
The Bulls miss the second free throw up 105-102, and Wright dribbles the distance and gets himself a pretty good look at the top of the key to tie but comes up just short. Ball game. Pistons fall 105 -102.
Bulls outscore the Pistons by 21 in the second half.