The Bulls took down Derrick Rose and the Pistons 109-89 behind a stellar effort from Lauri Markkanen. Four observations from the win:

First quarter fizzle, third quarter sizzle

The Bulls came out of the gates piping hot in this one, jumping out to a 19-6 lead behind seven quick points from Lauri Markkanen — those coming from two authoritative dunks and a three-pointer that bounced high off the back rim before dropping in. 

In just five minutes, though, the Pistons erased that deficit, riding a Langston Galloway heat-check to a 28-24 lead with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the first. Coby White stopped the bleeding with back-to-back three-pointers, and the two sides ended the quarter knotted at 30.

Jim Boylen talked before the game about limiting ‘streaks’ and credit to the Bulls for not letting that one be their undoing. From the beginning of the second quarter on, they generally maintained at least two possessions-worth of distance from Detroit before pulling away in the third.

The most exciting sequence of that stretch was lead by — who else? — White. Up nine, he ran a crisp screen-and-roll with Wendell Carter for an alley-oop, then followed that up with a pull-up transition three moments later to put the Bulls up 14 and force a Pistons timeout. They never looked back.

The starters pull their weight

After their last game against Milwaukee, Boylen said he considered riding a bench unit in crunch-time. But tonight, the starters pulled their weight.

 

For Markkanen specifically, this was exactly the type of performance the doctor ordered. He led all scorers with 24 points on 7-for-14 shooting (3-for-4 from three). It wasn’t a perfect game — a few bricked jumpers persisted, and at one point Andre Drummond sent him packing with a vicious block on a dunk attempt. Nevertheless, Markkanen posting a 20-point game for the first time since opening night is a welcome development.

Meanwhile, Tomas Satoransky bounced back from only logging 18 minutes in a hard-fought loss to Milwaukee to put up 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds (3-for-5 from three). He set up both of Markkanen’s first-quarter dunks and threw down a thunderous transition slam of his own to put the Pistons to bed in the fourth. 

Wendell Carter and Shaq Harrison were active and engaged on both ends all night, as well. Carter was up to the challenge of Drummond, finishing with 12 points and 15 rebounds (five offensive), his ninth double-double of the season. Harrison had 11 rebounds of his own, three steals and punched home a breakaway reverse drunk that ignited the UC, to boot. He finished with a team-high plus-minus of +29.

The one exception was Zach LaVine, who — again — struggled. He scored five points on 2-for-11 shooting and was invisible for long stretches.

Bulls simply dominate

It feels surreal to watch the Bulls so thoroughly dominate an opponent. A look at some pertinent team splits from this one:

Three-point shooting

Bulls: 14-for-27 (51.9%)
Pistons: 8-for-33 (24.2%)

Rebounds

Bulls: 55
Pistons: 46

Fast break points

Bulls: 18
Pistons: 9

Points in the paint

Bulls: 48
Pistons: 36

Detroit looked dreadful. Next.

Who’s chopping onions in here?

Some old pals were in the house on a night the Bulls honored Luol Deng — and not just Derrick Rose:

Just before introducing some friendly ghosts of mid-2000’s past, the team also debuted a tribute video for Deng:

 

“I think the love in Chicago is different than everywhere else,” Deng said before the game. “You become part of the city. I miss that. I just miss the city.”

The city misses you too, Luol. Even in a blowout victory, the cheers during that part of the night were louder than for any in-game play.

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