“It’s Jekyll and Hyde with this Bulls team.” Will Perdue dropped this quote in the postgame show and he could not have explained Monday night’s game any better. It’s the same old story all season for the Bulls. Hot starts leading to stagnant offense and undisciplined defense.
Reggie Jackson was 10/10 for 24 points in the second half of Monday night’s game Jackson’s dominate performance led the Pistons to a 109-95 win in Detroit. The Bulls were up 14 points at one point in the second quarter but the Pistons cut it to four before the half.
The Chicago Bulls started well, something they usually do. They assisted on eight of their first ten baskets. Jerian Grant, who has some of the weirdest minutes in the league, hit some early shots and pushed the ball leading to easy baskets for his teammate. The Bulls had 10 fast break points in the first quarter but only had seven for the rest of the game.
Over the course of the first half, the Bulls continued to play pretty well. They were moving the ball and everyone was contributing, not just Jimmy Butler. Cameron Payne hit some three’s and Robin Lopez was a big part of the offense in the first half.
But the second half was a different story. The Bulls offense slowed down, especially in the fourth quarter. One thing I’ve noticed during the course of the season is Robin Lopez not getting a lot of looks in the second half. Lopez is a huge part of the offense early in games. He has a good post game with his turnaround hook and efficient midrange game. And as the game goes on, the team fails to keep going to Lopez. I’m totally serious when I say that Lopez has been the most consistent player along with Jimmy Butler this season.
Butler had 15pts in the first half, 8/9 from the free throw line.
Both Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were out tonight which hurt the Bulls in the long run. With the second leading scorer on the team out, others like Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine need to pick up the slack. And that did not happen tonight. Mirotic was 2-7, 1-5 from 3pt. Valentine played 15 minutes and was 0-3 from the field.
Rondo being out with an ankle injury turned out to be a big factor as the bench only scored 29 points tonight. Rondo has been a staple to the second group. He finds guys like Mirotic and Valentine for open shots. He has embraced his role and has been a staple off the bench. Rondo averaged 6 assists and 7.7 points in February.
The Bulls only managed 16 points in the fourth quarter. The offense stalled and turned into Jimmy Butler trying to do it all down the stretch. And he can’t do it all especially on the defensive end where the Bulls had too many miscommunication’s and lack of discipline. Jackson got whatever he wanted and put the game out of hand for the Bulls.
This was also the Bulls last game at The Palace of Auburn Hills as the Pistons will be moving to their new downtown arena next season.
Jimmy Butler finished with 27 points, 12/13 from the line. Lopez finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Jerian Grant added a season-high 8 assists.
The Chicago Bulls travel to Orlando for a game against the Magic on Wednesday, who have lost seven of their last ten games. After tonight’s loss, the Bulls find themselves in the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks are only 1.5 games back of the Bulls so games like these against struggling teams are must wins.
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