Tricked! Bulls 101, Pistons 91

It looked like fans were in for a real treat heading into Halloween day (see what I did?). The Pistons were rolling in Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back -- up 15 in the 4th quarter, on the cusp of winning -- but it turned out to be all candy corns and Unicef. Bullsh... I mean, Bulls.

Instead of finally closing out the game, and picking up their first win, the Pistons were outscored 34-9 in the final quarter, completely wiping out a one-time 21-point lead to drop their third straight game to start the season. It's the first time Detroit's started 0-3 since 1999-2000 when they started 0-4. After three deflating losses and Boston being Tuesday's opponent, it's not unreasonable to believe that will be this team's fate, as well.*

The Pistons threw us for a real loop. They were up 63-44 at halftime, but were a completely different team in the second half. What's possibly most depressing is that the Pistons played so well in that first half that they could've gotten away with how bad they played in the 3rd quarter (8-24 shooting and five turnovers) and still won. Yet, somehow, they managed to play even worse in the fourth quarter (4-21 shooting with five turnovers and six missed FTs) and completely collapsed.

Ben Gordon, who started 5-5 from the field (10-10 at the line) for 21 points, shot 0-5 in the second half and became turnover happy. Rodney Stuckey, who finished with a relatively strong box score line -- 18 points, seven assists, just one turnover and five rebounds -- also missed more shots than he made in the second half and started to get away from the patience he was exuding during the first half.

Derrick Rose led the way for the Bulls with 39 points on 13-27 shooting. He added seven assists and six rebounds, but also had seven turnovers. Joakim Noah cleaned up the boards with 17 and added 15 points.

More or less after the jump:

*In 1999-2000, when the Pistons started 0-4, they ultimately finished 7th in the Eastern Conference thanks to a 14-10 finish under interim head coach George Irvine. Who's going to be our interim head coach this year?
  • Why wasn't Ben Gordon in in the 4th quarter when the Bulls were making their comeback? Ben Gordon wasn't good when he was pulled at the 7:28 mark in the 4th quarter in favor of Rip Hamilton, but neither was Rip. After the game, Gordon hinted that he wasn't as good in the second half because he was ridin' pine/not getting opportunities (emphasis mine):
  • Q: What was the difference between the first half and the second half?

    Gordon: I just didn't have as many opportunities as I did in the first half. I'm not sure why. We went away from what worked for us in the first half. We got away from the way we were playing. We allowed them to come back into the game. We had a huge lead and we let it slip away. I just feel like we didn't make the right adjustments as a team. Derrick was really hot and it seemed like he could do whatever he wanted. We need to try to take something away from them when they got it going like that.

  • Those are things that fall on the coach. Kuester was 100% outclassed in the 2nd half by Tom Thibodeau.
  • Kuester, basically agreeing with me, commented on Gordon:
  • Ben played a phenomenal first half. We wanted to get him started like that. Give the Bulls credit as they made the needed adjustments and took a lot of that away from us.
  • By the time Kuester brought Ben Gordon back into the game (at the 2:17 mark, down by four) the game was as good as over. I know, technically, it wasn't, but there was absolutely no way the Bulls were going to lose after coming back from 21 down to take a lead late during their home opener. Derrick Rose said he would've died on the court before he let that happened.
  • Similarly, Rodney Stuckey's technical foul with just under a minute to play was meaningless. Not only did the Bulls miss the tech free throw, but complete deflation had already occurred. The game was over at that point.
  • Austin Daye is now 6-25 through three games and not looking any better than he was in the season opener. When will Charlie Villanueva get plugged into the starting lineup?
  • The plus side to Daye struggling is that it might open a door for Greg Monroe. Monroe saw his first regular season action of his career by stealing seven of Daye's minutes from Friday night and looked more than adequate. He had an offensive rebound, which he put back for two and grabbed two defensive rebounds. He did pick up three quick fouls, though, and had a turnover via an offensive foul on a moving screen. His plus-minus (plus-11) was the beneficiary of Detroit's big 2nd quarter run.
  • Speaking of... T-Mac played pretty miserable compared to his quietly good performances in the first two games. He did have his first bucket as a Piston and two steals, but his two misses were way off and he turned the ball over three times in 16-plus minutes. Tonight's T-Mac was not a useful T-Mac. Regardless of his play, the Pistons score more than their opponent while he's been on the court -- he's plus-27. What does it mean!?!?
  • The Pistons were 2-12 shooting at 10-15 feet from the basket.
  • Here's the NBA.com box score.
  • Hoopdata advanced box score
  • Happy Halloween, everybody. May the rest of this season not be so scary.

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