Maybe the shock is finally wearing off on the Chicago Bulls. The annual circus road trip for the Bulls had been a disaster so far. As everybody has heard by now, Derrick Rose is out for the season with another knee injury. The Bulls were on a four-game losing skid going into the game against the Detroit Pistons. They entered this game looking for some kind of rhythm, and a team like the Pistons was the remedy.
The Bulls pulled away in the second half to beat up the Pistons 99-79. This was the kind of game that could potentially get them back on track. The defense was very solid, especially in that second half. They held the Pistons to just 26 points in that half, resembling the team that plays with that defensive intensity. Coach Tom Thibodeau was very happy with the defensive performance, which had been surprisingly lacking.
The offense was also in tune on this night as well. Several players finally stepped up in Rose’s absence. Luol Deng, who has to be the focal point of the offense now, led the charge with 27 points. Backup power forward Taj Gibson stepped up in a big way, scoring a career-high 23 points. Rookie, Tony Snell got his second start of the season and contributed 13 points. Snell will be a key factor moving forward with the lack of depth in the backcourt.
This is the way the Bulls are going to have to play for the rest of the year: with a balanced attack and that tough, gritty defense they are known for. Maybe with this type of win, they will be able to get over Rose’s injury and gain some confidence that they can still compete. The Bulls have too much dignity as a unit to struggle this badly and will continue to find some consistency to get wins.