On the last day of the NBA regular season the Detroit Pistons whacked the Chicago Bulls by 32 points in a meaningless game. Beating tanking teams was pretty much how it went down for the Pistons during the last month of the season. Certainly, the “Best Below-Average Team” in the NBA award goes to Detroit. Will there be cake?
The tanking Bulls mostly sat their top players, save for prized rookie Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis. The Pistons were again without the services of Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and Reggie Bullock.
The first half (the first quarter really) was all about Anthony Tolliver and his 16 points. With a reverse lay-in, a dribble-drive dunk, and threes that ripped the net, Tolliver was in the zone. He was doing bad things.
The third quarter was all about Ish Smith probing in and out of the lane and making shots and doing everything Ish does when he’s got the juice going.
Then, during the last minute of the quarter, there was an Eric Moreland led fast-break that resulted in a fade away bucket from James Ennis and also a rather sweet coast-to-coast take from Henry Ellenson. It goes without saying the Bulls weren’t exactly locked-in defensively much of the night.
Eric Moreland finished with career-highs in points (16) and rebounds (17) to go along with four blocks, four steals and four assists. Moreland really had his floater in tip-top condition this game — and showed signs of it being a solid part of his game over the last few weeks.
Luke Kennard scored a career-high 23 points (eight-of-14 from the field, three of six from three).
Markkanen scored 20 for the Bulls.
The Pistons end the disappointing season at 39-43. The Bulls finish at 27-55 and have a first round pick to look forward to for next season, adding to their talented young core of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Markkanen.
Point blank, it’s going to be a long offseason for Pistons fans.