Pistons pound Bulls again to take 2-0 series lead
AAuburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Tayshaun Prince notched 25 points
seven rebounds while Detroit’s suffocating defense blanked Kirk Hinrich from
the field as the Pistons head to the Windy City with two games in their pocket
thanks to a 108-87 victory over Chicago at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Detroit’s staple, on-ball defensive pressure, again suffocated the baby Bulls
to the tune of 34.3 percent shooting and a 4-of-20 effort from beyond the arc.
Luol Deng, who helped bury Miami in four straight games in the Eastern
Conference quarterfinals, scored 16 points but needed 12 shots and a perfect
8-of-8 night from the charity stripe.
Hinrich’s two free throws accounted for his entire offensive output, while his
point guard counterpart Chauncey Billups totaled 14 points and 10 assists.
Richard Hamilton collected 24 points with six assists and nine rebounds — two
more boards than former Piston Ben Wallace, who also scored 13 points.
It’s been great, man,” Billups said of the 2-0 series start. “Like I said, we
came into this playoff with an unbelievable focus and determination, man,
knowing how long our summer was last summer and knowing there were a couple
patches and stretches in the playoffs we weren’t as focused as we should have
Game 3 of the best-of-seven semifinal series is Thursday at the United Center.
It’s there that Chicago must put a pair of 20-plus point setbacks behind it.
Detroit continued the momentum from its 95-69 victory in Game 1 during the
first quarter, outscoring the Bulls 34-18 and keeping a comfortable lead for
the rest of the contest.
“I guess the thing that is most surprising is that both games we were not very
competitive,” Chicago head coach Scott Skiles said. “Right from the jump ball
they have owned us on both ends of the floor, so we have to go back now and
regroup and try to get something done at home.”
Chris Webber added 22 points with seven rebounds and Rasheed Wallace donated
10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. The Pistons shot the same
percentage from the field as they did from beyond the arc, draining 10-of-19
from long distance for 52.6 percent shooting.
Detroit replicated its first-quarter start in the second stanza, rattling off
eight in a row again. Back-to-back Billups threes and a pair of Hamilton free
throws increased the lead to 42-18 with 10:31 on the clock.
Two free throws from Tyrus Thomas, who tallied 18 points, cut the deficit to
52-38 with 2:11 to play, but Detroit still held a 58-43 edge at intermission.
Hamilton’s jumper pushed the lead to 71-50 with 5:56 remaining in the third
quarter and Detroit kept that edge with an 83-62 advantage after the period.
Thomas’ dunk brought the Bulls within 83-70 with 9:26 to play, but Antonio
McDyess’ three-point play restored order and the Pistons cruised to victory
Andres Nocioni recorded 12 points in defeat, while Ben Gordon donated 13
points…The Bulls shot a remarkable 52 free throws, making 37 for a 71.2
percentage…Detroit grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and held a massive 51-30
edge on the glass…Attendance 22,076.