I didn't get a chance to watch this game, so I'll keep my comments to a minimum. But just looking at the box score and the game flow, it looks like this was over from the start. The Pistons won every quarter, jumping out to a 29-19 lead in the first and starting the second half with an impressive 33-19 third quarter.
Seems like the Pistons have been all about efficiency these days. Rasheed Wallace and Rip Hamilton certainly were on Friday, scoring 19 and 18 points respectively with only 10 field goal attempts each. Rasheed added 10 rebounds and Hamilton five assists. Chauncey Billups played just 26 minutes but found time for 15 points and eight assists. And Ben Wallace continued his resurgence on the boards with 13 rebounds (to go with six points and two blocks) in 30 minutes.
Ben Wallace now has 30 rebounds in two games after grabbing just 33 in his previous five. Coincidence? Perhaps not. The last two games also mark the return of armband he's worn in past seasons to help reduce swelling. From the Free Press:
The NBA's new on-the-court dress code might have contributed to Pistons center Ben Wallace's many aches and pains.
The rules state that players can't wear armbands that extend three or four inches beyond their wrists. That means Wallace can no longer pull on the long forearm band he has worn the past few seasons.
The sleeve wasn't just a fashion statement. It also provided an extra layer of warmth and support. Without it, Wallace's forearm, a crucial body part when it comes to rebounding and blocking shots, took a beating and swelled.
His elbow felt some of the soreness, too, and Wallace felt a little more wary on the floor.
"Anytime you get used to playing with something, and then you have to try and find another way to deal with any type of injury, just going out there, it's like open season," Wallace said. "You feel kind of vulnerable out there."
But Arnie Kander, the team's strength and conditioning coach, brought the bands back out for Wednesday's game, rationalizing with the league that Wallace needs them as much as a player with a knee problem needs a knee brace.
"It's a medical condition," Kander said. "So it definitely is needed."
Obviously, you can't pin his recent success entirely on the armband, but it can't hurt that he's allowed to resume wearing something that makes him more comfortable.
There was no apparent retaliation toward Rasheed, though Darko Milicic and Othella Harrington drew technicals after getting tangled in the fourth quarter. Now that's something I wish I could have seen.
Pistons 110, Bulls 82 box score [ESPN]
Popcorn Machine Game Flow [PopcornMachine.net]
PISTONS CORNER: Big Ben gets back armbands [Detroit Free Press]