CHICAGO — After opening the season with a loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons had an opportunity for redemption on Saturday facing the Bulls again at United Center. But after a solid opening quarter, the Pistons fell apart toward the end of the first half and couldn’t recover.
The Bulls led by as many as 31 en route to blowing out the Pistons, 97-82. Detroit committed 23 turnovers, dished just 14 assists, and shot just 5-for-28 from downtown. Saddiq Bey was a bright spot, scoring 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds. Beyond that, there wasn’t much else that went right.
DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 21 points, and Nikola Vucevic finished with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Turnovers, poor shooting dooms Pistons
The same issues that plagued the Pistons on Wednesday doomed them on Saturday, but to an even greater extent. At the halftime buzzer, the Pistons had 14 turnovers and eight assists. The Bulls had one turnover and 14 assists. Detroit was just 2-for-10 from three. The Pistons actually had the edge in field goal percentage (45.2% vs. 40%) and rebounds (31-17) in the first half, but still trailed by 11.
The Bulls dominated the third quarter, but the game slipped away before halftime. Detroit committed six turnovers in the final 5:04 of the second quarter — a stretch that saw the Bulls go on a 10-3 run to pull away. A 3-point play by DeRozan (which started with a poster dunk on Hamidou Diallo) toward the end of the third extended a 30-8 Chicago run that put the game firmly out of reach by increasing the lead to 25.
On Wednesday, Detroit committed 16 turnovers opposite 17 assists, and shot 6-for-28 from 3. It was a close loss, as Chicago escaped with a 94-88 win. Despite the talent disparity between the two teams, the Pistons had a prime opportunity to get revenge. The Bulls played the Pelicans on Friday night, and Detroit had two days of rest entering Saturday’s game.
Detroit won’t shoot this poorly all season. Bey, Grant, Jackson, Olynyk and other players are all proven threats from outside. The biggest issue through two games has been Detroit’s lack of steady playmaking. Killian Hayes has underwhelmed through two games, finishing with just two points and three assists Saturday. He scored his first bucket of the season in the third quarter, hitting a floater over Vucevic, but shot just 1-for-5 overall and was benched for good after 20 minutes of play.
Bey delivers strong rebounding night
Bey was a solid rebounder as a rookie, but he’s been especially strong on the boards through two games. His 16 rebounds crushed his previous high of 12, and he also grabbed nine on Wednesday.
He’s only 1-for-8 from three thus far, but he’s showing that he can impact the game even when his shot isn’t falling. He shot 7-for-14 on Saturday, once again doing most of his damage inside of the arc.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.