The Chicago Bulls ended the Pistons dream of stampeding through the playoffs undefeated yesterday, taking game 4 102-87 and keeping their season alive. Detroit shot quite poorly (37.3%), were out-rebounded 51-33, and were unable to fully recover from a 23-point third quarter deficit. The Pistons were able to come as close as 7 late in the fourth, but could not find the basket when they needed to most.
Detroit's starting five did not consistently produce as they did in the game 3 comeback. Chris Webber was the only Piston whose performance stayed the same, but unfortunately that performance was once again a 0-point dud. Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 23 points and 8 assists, but was only 5-14 from the field and committed a late charge that basically sealed Detroit's fate. Rasheed Wallace went 4-16, including a woeful 2-12 from three, finishing with 14 points. Rip Hamilton shot almost as poorly, going 4-12 from the field and scoring only 11 points. Tayshaun Prince had 18 points on 8-16 shooting, but allowed the first big game by Luol Deng (25 points and 13 rebounds; 10-15 shooting) on the defensive end.
I guess it was inevitable that the Pistons would lose one (actually, I'd be an idiot if I thought we could run the table, even in the Eastern Conference). However, it is at least a good sign that Detroit could play as poorly as they did and still be within striking distance late in the game. Four of the starting five went ice cold from the field, Detroit was manhandled on the boards, and yet with 3:44 left Detroit had the ball with a chance to make it a two-possession game. While the Pistons have seemed disinterested for long stretches in Chicago, I don't expect that to carry over to game 5 in Detroit. I fully expect the Pistons to close out the series tomorrow night.
Oh, and you didn't expect me to forget about the Flip Murray dunk, did you?
Savage. Game 5 tips off tomorrow night at 8.