Things weren’t at all pretty for the Chicago Bulls at the start of Friday night’s 106-98 home win over the Detroit Pistons, but they turned it around in the second half to seal the victory.
The Bulls’ scoring struggles really showed in the first quarter. With only 5:25 left in the period, Chicago had only scored seven points. Not only were shots not falling, but, at that point, the Bulls had already accumulated five turnovers. Those turnovers then allowed for five points for the Pistons.
D.J. Augustin checked into the game about two minutes earlier than usual in an attempt to get the offense going, but it wasn’t of much help. Though he was able to make a three before the quarter concluded to cut Chicago’s deficit to 28-17.
Things didn’t improve in the second quarter either. Instead, the Pistons’ lead slowly grew while the Bulls continued their offensive struggles. Along with that, Chicago’s defense wasn’t quite what fans have come to expect.
By halftime, the Bulls trailed the Pistons 51-38 and shot 38.1 percent from the field compared to the 51.1 percent they gave up. Their rebounding wasn’t up to par either as their 17 first half rebounds were outdone by just Andre Drummond’s 19 rebounds. Detroit, as a whole, had 31 total rebounds.
The second half, though, was a completely different story.
Chicago’s aggression was clearly evident in the third quarter. The trio of Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich all got going on the offensive end. Their contributions were a main factor in beginning the Bulls’ comeback. In fact, 30 of the 32 third quarter points came from those three alone. The remaining two were from Jimmy Butler and came right at the end of the period.
The Bulls also stepped up their defense. In the third quarter, the Pistons were held to 24 points. This was Detroit’s lowest point total for a quarter up to that point. Their scoring continued to decrease from there, as the Pistons only put together 18 more points in the game.
Despite the offensive resurgence Chicago faced in the third quarter, Detroit still owned the lead as the final quarter came around. The Bulls did, however, have all of the momentum going into it.
Butler scored on the first possession of the period with a jumper to bring his team within eight points of a tie. Dunleavy followed up with a three. Then, Taj Gibson’s pair of free throws further cut the lead, 83-77.
Chicago finally stole the lead at the 7:28 mark of the quarter when Butler scored a layup. This brought the score to 85-83, and the Bulls never looked back. They remained aggressive on both ends of the court to transform a small lead into a double-digit one.
After being under 40 percent shooting in the first half, Chicago increased it by nearly 11 percent at 49.4 percent while Detroit’s shooting fell to 46.5 percent.
Augustin led the Bulls, now 47-32, with 24 points, six assists, four rebounds and one assist. Boozer contributed 18 points and seven rebounds while Gibson followed with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Up next on Chicago’s schedule is a 6:30 p.m. central matchup against the New York Knicks on Sunday.