Friday, May 11, 2007

Pistons' 2nd Half Pushes Bulls to the Brink

Pistons (1) vs. Bulls (5): Pistons 81, Bulls 74 (Game 3)

- A game that was a tale of 2 halves. The Bulls seemed to be the aggressor and more active team on both ends of the floor in the 1st half (Detroit had only 28 pts). But the script got flipped after the intermission and the Pistons dictated what was going to happen on both ends. They ratcheted up the defense, the Bulls started to miss shots & coughing the ball up (10 2nd half TOs). And the Pistons were succesful attacking the painted area in the 2nd half, while Billups' shooting spread the defense.

- Pistons defense was suffocating once again, besides the last 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Pistons held the Bulls to 34% overall, and only allowed the Bulls 30 pts in the 2nd half. They really turned up the intensity after halftime and resembled the activity they had in Game 1 & 2. Detroit's zone was effective in the 3rd, they had active hands, caused TOs and totally denied anything in the lane. What I've always liked about Coach Flip is not only he plays a lot of zone, it's he will stay with a zone for an extended period. It also helped that the Bulls' jumpers started going cold, and that always spells trouble for the perimeter-oriented Bulls.

- Pistons continue to stymie the Bulls on the 3pt. line--Bulls shot 2/13 from 3pt. in Game--and the Bulls are shooting 22% for the series after shooting 38.8% for the season (2nd best). Mentioned this battle between one of the top 3pt. shooting teams & one of the top Def. 3pt. teams could be crucial, and the Pistons are definitely winning this battle.

- Said the Bulls had to get back the rebound advantage, and they responded with vigor--they outrebounded the Pistons 60 to 43. Usually when you're that dominant on the boards you're in pretty good shape for a victory, but the Pistons' defense was so tough, the second chance points attempts were no easier than the initial off. possessions. The Bulls grabbed 22 off. rebs to 10 for the Pistons. Big Ben led the way with 6 off. rebs, while Brown & Deng both had 5 off. boards.

- After a rough 1st half, the Pistons decided to pick up the focus on the offensive end as well. Tayshaun led the resurgence mixing up his jumper with some looks in the painted area (23 & 11), including an impressive drive-n-dunk at the start of the 4th. Billups came thru with some of his patented cold-blooded jumpers in the 2nd half. He hit 3 3pts and finished with 21 pts. He also mixed in some penetration where he set up some easy looks (7 assts). The Pistons only scored 5 pts outside of Prince, Rip (16pts), Sheed (16) & Chauncey. Sheed was the defensive anchor once again deterring easy Bulls in the lane with 5 blks to go along with 11 boards.

- The Bulls' main offensive threats had another rough going vs. Detroit. Deng did manage 21 pts & 14 rebs, but he only shot 8/22. Deng has only shot 38% for the series after shooting 58% vs. Miami & 52% for the reg. season. Ben Gordon continues not to be able to find any sort of rhythm vs. the Pistons--Ben had 16 on 4/16, he shooting 28% for the series (25% from 3pt). Ben shot 44% overall & 40% from 3pt vs Miami, basically the same numbers from the reg. season. Hinrich did have a solid all-around performance with 13, 11 rebs, & 7 assts, but he only shot 6/15.


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