Pistons-Bulls game preview

Tomorrow night, the Bulls face the Pistons in the United Center.

Both teams enter the game 0-1. But whereas the Bulls lost to a young, up-and-coming team with a viable MVP candidate, the Pistons lost to the New Jersey Nets. You know, the ballclub that won only 12 games last season and took its rightful place among the worst teams in league history.

Destination: Doom indeed.

In their loss to the Nets, the Pistons choked away a seven-point lead in the final 1:40, losing 101-98. And although you could point toward poor crunch-time execution — both offensively and defensively — Detroit probably lost the game at the foul line, where they clanged 14 of their 30 attempts (including a 2-for-8 performance by our old friend Ben Wallace).

So what can we expect from the Pistons on Saturday?

It’s hard to say. Last season was a disaster by Pistons standards. Remember, from 2001-02 to 2007-08, Detroit won 50 or more games seven times, made six trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, reached the NBA Finals twice and won the title in 2004. Then GM Joe Dumars let Rasheed Wallace walk, traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, and spent $90 million on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

The result? Detroit’s first 50-loss season since 2001. The Pistons ranked 21st in Offensive Rating and 26th in Defensive Rating, finishing with a 27-55 record…last in the Central Division.

It was their worst record since 1994.

The 2009-10 Pistons were a poor shooting team, ranking 29th in Effective Field Goal Percentage and dead  last in three-point percentage. However, they crashed the offensive glass (2nd in Offensive Rebound Percentage) and took care of the basketball (9th in Turnover Percentage). They also forced plenty of miscues, ranking 5th in Opponents Turnover Percentage.

Unfortunately, they ranked 29th in both Opponents Effective Field Goal Percentage and Opponents Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt. They also had a 19th place finish in Defensive Rebounding Percentage.

What does all this mean?

I’m not entirely sure. Last year’s regression might have been caused by poor personnel decisions, or it might have been the result of injuries to Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. Or maybe it was a little of column A and a little of column B.

Still, assuming anything remains constant from last season, the Bulls need to protect their defensive backboards and make good decisions with the ball to avoid giving up garbage points off putbacks and turnovers. They also need to focus on working the ball around for open shots, because the Pistons will give them up.

Furthermore, the Bulls need to be aggressive in attacking the basket. Last year, the Pistons gave up the 9th most free throw attempts. They gave up 24 fouls shots against the Nets in their season opener. There’s no reason the Bulls can’t get to the line 30+ times.

Finally, Chicago must execute in the fourth quarter. In their own season opener, the only thing the Bulls executed was themselves, going 6-for-24 from the field and committing 5 turnovers. They also spent way too much time watching Derrick Rose dribble his way into tough shot attempts.

22 Responses to Pistons-Bulls game preview

  1. Inception October 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    sadly, this game is not a lock for CHI…

  2. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog October 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Bulls outside shooting was awful against OKC. Did Rose make ANY outside shots? I know he missed all of them in the first half. And Deng was terribly outplayed on both ends of the floor.

    Plus the Bulls bench is WEAK. Watson, Korver and Brewer all had bad games. The second unit needs to step up- we are not going to win when Rose goes to the bench with an 8-point lead and comes back three down.

  3. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. October 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    Agreed, Gorditadog. I was watching the game thinking that the Bull’s “swing-and-miss” set the franchise back in a bad way. (Not that I am saying they shouldn’t have done it. But hind-sight being 20/20…)The Bulls gave away good talent for very little and, beyond Boozer, I don’t see as good of a team as I saw last year. Still, the players are right when they say they need more time; I guess we shall see just how good Thibs can be.

    On another note: I also watched the Pistons game on Wednesday. It has been well documented about how mis-matched that team is. “Too many gaurds, not enough beef.” The injury to Jerebko certainly did not help, but I can see a senario where the Pistons could surprise people. Firstly, perhaps you throw last year out due to the fact that you had a new coach and so many new faces on that team. (Hey, if the Bulls can use that excuse, why not the Pistons?) So it stands to reason that they would naturally be better this year because they have played more ball together.

    I also noticed that they are DEEP. Check out the list of players that are NOT starting for the Pistons: BG, Charlie Villanueva, T-Mac, #5 pick Greg Monroe. This team can throw wave after wave of above average players at an opposing team.

    Of course this scenario assumes a couple things go right. Can the magical piston’s trainer rehab t-mac? Will Greg Monroe be any good? Were BG & Charlie V embarassed enough last year? I don’t know the answer to these, but this team could be positively stacked if all the dominos went their way.

  4. choyle@bpu.com'
    Chuck October 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    For the Bulls to be considered an elite team in the East they have to flat-out spank this Pistons team. How doeas a good team respond to losing a close game to a good team? By spanking a bad team, that’s how.
    Make no mistake. The Pistons are pretty bad. Key starters (Rip, Tayshon and Ben) are getting old and the key reserves (Gordon, CV) can’t guard their own shadow.

  5. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe October 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    “the key reserves (Gordon, CV) can’t guard their own shadow.” For sure.

    CV and Ben Gordon were both over paid for what they do in their respective positions.

    You can’t tie up 13M with a 6’3″ SG that doesn’t defend. Even Monta Ellis is a better defender and scorer at 11M/yr.

    Pistons will have to make some trades to fix their lopsided roster. Let’s see if Dumars can trade Rip and Prince.

  6. TBF October 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    The Pistons could be stacked? Now that’s just laughable. T-Mac is complete trash at this point in his career. Ben Wallace is worthless offensively, meaning that they’ll play 4 on 5 on every offensive posession he’s in there for. Gordon and CV are horrid defenders.

    Bulls should win this in a walk.

  7. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom October 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    I take offense at the idea that this teams bench is worse than last years. The Bulls only had two good bench players..Big Brad and Captain Kirk. This year we are much deeper, just give them more than one road game to prove it. (Are you guys the same people writing off the Heat after watching them lose to the Celtics?)

    Also, don’t judge the back ups from losing 10 points over about 10 minutes. They were going up against OKC’s starters including KD, that kind of stuff happens.

  8. Bill Z October 30, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    bullsfandom – couldn’t agree more. We are way deeper than last year, but injury riddled early. Brewer looks like he is going at 60%, he can’t even hit a layup yet, Korver is not moving as well as at the beginning of preseason, and our best bench player is starting because of a gym bag!

    I can’t stand my fellow chicago fans. We lose the opener – on the road – to a Western Conference Contender and we suddenly suck? And what is all this crap that Deng was so overplayed at both ends of the floor? He didn’t play great, but he played Durant quite well. And beforee you tell me Durant had 30pts, take a look at how many possessions it took him to do so. I believe it was 35. Deng played above avg “D” on the best scorer in the league and was just too tired too score come the 4th qtr.

  9. Bill Z October 30, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    As for the Pistons game…

    Bulls Wipe the floor with them. Noah, Taj, Aik outrebound an undersized and old frontcourt. Rose blows by anyone trying to get in front of him. He goes for 20pts and 8 assists tomorrow. Deng will add 15-20pts including 2fg from downtown. Noah grabs another 15 boards and finds 10 easy points.

    Hopefully Brewer, Korver, and the rest of the bench can contribute something as well to make it an all around beating.

    I can’t wait to go tomorrow! Haven’t been to home opener in a while. I can’t make Monday night’s game if anyone wants tickets. I’m basically giving them away. bzerinskas@fpis.net

  10. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. October 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    OK, Bill Z.

    Lets err on the positive side and spot you 20pts for Rose, 20 points for Deng, & 10 points for Noah… That’s 50. If we can pencil in 10 for Taj, that brings us to 60. Is that enough to win?
    Where do we get the apporimately 37 points more that are needed? Even if Brewer, Watson and Korver have good games and get 10 each, we still don’t hit 97 points for the game.

    Let me be clear, no one said the Bulls suck. When Boozer comes back the starting five is as solid a team as you’ll find, but these bench players are going to need to build a synergy to make themselves greater than the sum of their peices. That will take time and is something to watch for.

    BTW – the Pistons just played the Thunder tighter than the Bulls did. I’m not saying they are going to be great, just that they might be better than people are giving them credit for. (Of course, they’ll probably lay an egg tonight, it being a back-to back. Just my luck!)

  11. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj October 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    I think I need better glasses. I missed the whole “inside-out” game, the pick and roll game, the passing the ball around game.

    I did see the Rose dribbling and dribbling trying to create shots, trying to get in the clogged lanes winding up taking way too many tough shots that didn’t fall in.

    At least I got to see a very good point guard playing. Unfortunately it turned out to be Russel Westbrook.

    I know, it is only one game, on the road, against a top contender. Just would have liked to see a better team game. Maybe I just need to put on my Rose colored glasses.

  12. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom October 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    Brad S – Sure the Pistons played the Thunder better….and the Celtics lost to the Cavs. Its tough to win on the road, which is why probably why the Celts beat the Heat so bad, then Lost on the road…and why the Bulls just fell short on the road against a team that struggled to beat a bad Detroit team on the road. We should destroy them tonight, despite Bill Z’s conservative math.

  13. TBF October 30, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    That’s right Brad. This team is so shitty that we’ll average about 80 PPG until Boozer comes back.

    Did you take stupid pulls this morning?

  14. Brian October 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Anyone else think brad s is an idiot and knows absolutely nothing about the NBA? Because I sure do…how the hell is last years bench better than this years? You sir are straight basketball retarded

  15. stefanhynes09@gmail.com'
    Stefan October 30, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Check out my NBA season preview and player grades from Blake Griffin’s first game.


  16. thetallented1@yahoo.com'
    Brooklyn Bulls October 31, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    Why arent my comments a part of this section all of a sudden BTH?

  17. Mike G October 31, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    I would like to say that I was present at tonights Bulls game (the 300 section), and it was amazing! Derrick was great. Johnson was great. Fuck, even Scalabrine was great! It was just so awesome to see the team come back from an 18 point deficit at the half to win it. I chanted MVP along with everyone else! I am just so thrilled with this victory.

  18. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath October 31, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Boy oh boy, JJ saved our butts last night. We almost wasted Rose’s huge effort last night. We needed someone to come in and do a little of everything.

    Very interesting to see just how valuable Taj Gibson is for this team – and how easily he can score for us and how Asik was able to take Noah’s place at the top of the key, so Noah could post up. At a glance, the Bulls seem to have done a good job in taking a shot with Omer.

    (I was simply shocked and ewwwed to see Scalabrine on the court for 20 minutes plus.)

    Big game, really. A loss would have really set a bad tone.

  19. demarrer2790@yahoo.com'
    Tony October 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Does this guy even work? How about you post an article once and awhile.

  20. Anonymous October 31, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    give the guy a break. it’s the weekend. if you didn’t care for his analysis you wouldn’t be on this blog in the first place.

  21. Inception October 31, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Deng looks like crap out there….unload his a##!

  22. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom October 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    I think Matt only updates on weekdays, so I’m not surprised that he hasn’t put up a new article. Just wished there is more transparency about it (weekend wrap-up type of posts would be nice.)

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