The Bulls and the Pistons went down to the wire Sunday and it took overtime for Chicago to defeat the Pistons, 100-94.
Obviously, going into overtime against a woeful Detroit squad (22-38 in the standings) is not an ideal way to win a basketball game, but teams with nothing to lose at this juncture in the season are the most dangerous kind of team to face. It's a strange dynamic, but it is what it is.
Chicago's starting lineup played in just their 13th game together this season and they're still trying to work out the kinks and find some fluidity with one another on offense. On the bright side, Derrick Rose played significantly better than he did last Thursday night against the Miami Heat and played a key role in Sunday night's victory.
How were the Bulls able to overcome the Pistons? Let's take a look:
D. Rose went 1-13 against Miami and Tom Thibodeau took the unconventional approach of benching his superstar in favor of CJ Watson who had it clicking. Rose scored 24 points in the game but still didn't shoot the ball very well, going 9-22 from the field. But the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva may have awoken a sleeping giant when he whacked Rose across the bridge of the nose, causing it to bleed and leaving a nasty cut. With the Bulls trailing by three points with 14.2 seconds left in regulation, Rodney Stuckey bricked the second of his two free-throws, Carlos Boozer grabbed the rebound, gave it to Derrick who promptly drained a 3 to force overtime. As Stacey King would exclaim after the shot, “The Windy City assassin is back! Big time players make big time plays!”
Noah came up absolutely huge in this game. In fact, given the offensive struggles of Luol Deng (2 points on 1-8 shooting) and Carlos Boozer, who scored 15 points but came on very late in the game, Joakim was the most productive player other than Rose. Noah put up 20 points and 17 rebounds, 13 of those coming on the offensive glass. His biggest play of the night may have been the screen he set, freeing up Rose to take the game-tying 3-pointer. Noah's energy, heart and hustle were on full display, and when he's fired up like he was against the Pistons, the Bulls are a very tough team to beat.