The first loss is in the books. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and that it occurred against the Bulls, a division rival looking to atone for an 0-4 start as well last year's showing in the playoffs, wasn't a big surprise. In fact, even though the Pistons had a chance to win late, it felt like they were on the verge of stealing the game, not winning it.
They trailed for much of the game, and seemingly every run to make the game close was followed by a lull in which Chicago jumped back ahead. Were it not for Rasheed Wallace -- his 36 points were the most ever as a Piston -- Detroit never would have been in this.
Whereas Chicago came out with a well-rounded team effort (five guys scored in double-figures, and eight played at least 16 minutes), the Pistons pretty much relied on Rasheed Wallace (36 points) the entire night. Tayshaun Prince and Antonio McDyess combined for just seven shots. Yes, they also combined for 10 free throws, but you'd still like to see a bit more aggressiveness.
As for the Bulls, well, this is exactly the reason why so many fans in Chicago are crowing about Tyrus Thomas. The guy is some kind of athlete, as he proved when he literally jumped over Rip Hamilton to block his shot. It was a remarkable play (and bound to hit YouTube sooner or later). Unfortunately, as much attention will likely be paid to what happened afterward -- after Rip was knocked to the ground, he tripped Thomas up by grabbing Thomas' ankle. Don't be surprised if the league wants to talk to Rip about that one.
But while Hamilton may have momentarily lost his composure, Rasheed did a good job holding his emotions in check. ESPN's David Thorpe noticed this, as well:
Maybe other players and the organization have convinced him to change his ways. When he missed two shots late, he didn't blame anyone, or look at referees. That's a good sign.
He's better when he doesn't project his feelings of frustation on the people around him -- just tell it to the headband.
(That last line probably sounds weird, but that's really what Rasheed did -- he walked away from the play at one point and yelled to himself as he pulled his headband over his head down around his neck.)
As for Ben Wallace ... wow. As much as some fans may still resent him, I just hope that it really is his ankle that's slowing him down because he's barely better than worthless at the moment. He scored six with a pedestrian seven boards, but as the NBA.com box score points out, he was also -8 on the night, the worst out of any Bulls player. He played just 25 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter. But that opened the door for another former Piston, Joe Smith, who scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth, most of them on timely buckets to keep the Bulls ahead.
So that's that. No one expected 82-0, so forget and move on. The Pistons flew home after the game and will take on the unbeaten Clipppers at 8pm tonight at the Palace.
Bulls 97, Pistons 93 box score [NBA.com]