Bulls hope to continue dominance over Pistons at home


Oct 30

Returning to the United Center to host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, the Bulls will take aim at securing its first win on the young season, the team’s 45th in the NBA.

“It’s great and we’re looking forward to it,” said Coach Tom Thibodeau of the home opener. “It’s an opportunity to play in front of our fans and we’re anxious to get another game under our belt.”

Chicago suffered a 106-95 setback at the hands of Kevin Durant and the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday in the season opener. Derrick Rose scored 28 points to lead the Bulls, but recorded four points in the final 21 minutes after winding up in foul trouble.

“The first three quarters, I thought we played well,” said Thibodeau of the game. “I like how we played in the third quarter when Derrick went to the bench early [due to the fouls]. We had good pace and I thought our defense was good.”

However, the fourth quarter, one in which the Thunder defense held the Bulls to just 25 percent shooting, was when things took a turn for the worse. Chicago turned the ball over four times in the last 12 minutes and Oklahoma City blocked four shots.

“Basically the last six minutes of that game, we stood around too much,” recalled Thibodeau. “It led to easy scoring opportunities for them. We were settling for long jump shots and the ball wasn’t moving. We weren’t moving.”

As a result, Thibodeau said, the Bulls sent the Thunder to the line. And in the end, that’s where a huge disparity existed—Oklahoma City shot 47 free throw attempts, while Chicago only made 22 trips to the charity stripe.

As for the ongoing process of finding that ideal rotation, Thibodeau acknowledged that it’s been a “challenge from the start of camp.”

“But we don’t want to use that as an excuse,” said Thibodeau. “Each day, we’re learning more about each other, getting ready, and learning the system. But the games are coming so we can’t keep using that. You have to be ready to go.”

With six of its next seven games at home, the Bulls have an opportunity to record a few wins before the challenge of the seven-game West Coast arrives. First things first, though, said Thibodeau, which meant the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

“They such a good scoring team and they’re playing small,” said Thibodeau. “So you have to contain dribble penetration. [Rodney] Stuckey is very, very tough and of course [Ben] Gordon had a big night [Friday] night [scoring 32 points off the bench in a one-point loss at home to the Thunder]. When you look at their catch and shot plays, with [Richard] Hamilton coming off, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense. Their bigs can really shoot, so they spread you out.”

Bulls vs. Pistons series notes:
Chicago swept last year’s season series with the Pistons for the first time since the 1995-96 season, when they went 4-0 … in their four games last season Chicago averaged 105.0 ppg, while Detroit posted 90.5 ppg … over their last 17 contests, Chicago has gone 14-3 against Detroit during the regular season … the Bulls have not lost to the Pistons at the United Center since Feb. 24, 2006 (95-87) … they’ve been victorious in eight straight contests against the Pistons at the UC … last season against Detroit, Derrick Rose averaged 21.0 ppg, 7.0 apg and 3.3 rpg, while Richard Hamilton averaged 17.7 ppg, 3.7 apg and 1.3 rpg against Chicago … former Bull Ben Gordon tallied 10.5 ppg and shot .368 from downtown in four games last year against the Bulls … the last time Detroit defeated Chicago was at the Palace in their first meeting during the 2008-09 season (12/23/08) behind a 40-point performance from guard Rodney Stuckey … over the last four seasons, Chicago holds a 8-0 record against Detroit at the United Center.

Audio—Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (10.30.10):

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