Detroit − Recent history hasn’t been kind to the Pistons when the Chicago Bulls were lined up on the other side of the court.
Before Wednesday, Detroit hadn’t beaten the Bulls since March 10, 2019, marking 13 consecutive meetings. And unfortunately for the Pistons, that streak continued after a mental lapse on the final possession.
Down by two with 9.8 seconds left, rookie guard Jaden Ivey was placed as the inbound passer but couldn’t find anyone open and called a timeout when the Pistons used all of their remaining timeouts. The error gave the Bulls a technical free throw and the ball, which Zach Lavine drained to give Chicago a three-point lead and the ball, effectively ending the game.
Detroit nearly completed the 21-point comeback, but ultimately lost their 14th straight game to the Bulls in a 117-115 loss.
Here are how the final moments of the game went:
The Pistons trailed by as many as 21 points in the third quarter and fought back to tie the game at 108 with three minutes left thanks to a fadeaway jumper by Bojan Bogdanovic, who led Detroit with 34 points. After missing Monday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets due to injury, the Pistons’ leading scorer returned to his ways of old and became the go-to scorer, especially in crunch time.
BOX SCORE: Bulls 117, Pistons 115
Bogdanovic nailed a pair of free throws to keep the score tied at 110 until DeMar DeRozan knocked down his mid-range specialty to put the Bulls up two points. However, Hamidou Diallo gracefully finished a layup to knot the score again. The score was tied at 112 when Lavine, who scored a game-high 41 points, was fouled by Cory Joseph after a layup attempt. He calmly knocked down both freebies to give Chicago a two-point edge.
Detroit had a chance to tie or take the lead with 48.9 seconds left, but they couldn’t execute their offense well enough to find a good shot, leading to a forced 3-pointer by Ivey. They received some good juju on the other end as DeRozan missed a shot, giving them the final possession with 9.7 seconds left.
Thanks to Lavine, that horrid streak continued as the Bulls star exploded for 41 points on an efficient 14-of-20 shooting night. He caught fire from the opening tip as he knocked down his first five shots of the game. It was nearly similar to his 43-point explosion against the Pistons in Chicago on Dec. 30.
The loss marked Detroit’s sixth straight and dropped the Pistons to 15-47. The six-game losing streak is their longest such streak since December and one shy of their season-long seven-game losing streak in November.
Ivey finished with 18 points and four rebounds. Diallo had 19 points off the bench, while Alec Burks and Killian Hayes chipped in 11.
Here are a few other observations from Wednesday’s two-point loss:
Welcome back, Bojan: After missing Monday’s game at Charlotte due to bilateral Achilles tendinopathy, Bogdanovic returned to the Pistons lineup. After a slow first nine minutes of the game, Bogdanovic knocked down three consecutive 3s late in the first quarter, showing a glimpse of his scoring prowess. He continued his 3-point binge in the latter half of the second quarter. Pistons coach Dwane Casey said during his pregame press conference that he wanted to limit Bogdanovic’s minutes but he eventually led the Pistons with 39 minutes on Wednesday.
Patrick Beverley’s hustle: The Pistons were without both Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren for the second game in a row, leaving their frontcourt depth thin. Against the Bulls, you’d probably expect Nikola Vucevic to capitalize on the size advantage. However, it was Patrick Beverley who dominated the boards for the Bulls. The 6-foot-1 guard grabbed eight rebounds in the first half. Four of them were offensive boards, which either bounced his way or obtained through his tenacious hustle. Overall, Beverley nearly finished with a triple-double with five points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Another Drummond returns, again: Drummond, who the Pistons selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, returned to Little Caesars Arena for the first time as a member of the Chicago Bulls — his fourth team since he was traded from Detroit. The former Pistons center entered the game at the 3:16 mark of the first quarter to the soothing sound of boos from the Detroit crowd. Despite the jeers, Drummond cracked a smile and played through them. He finished with one point and six rebounds.