(WSCR) – The Bulls are hoping to come back from a season opening loss and slow the Pistons down for their home opener. With a new coach and eight new players to rebuild the team around Derrick Rose, the Bulls are ready.
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) — With a new coach and an overhauled roster, it might take a little time for the Chicago Bulls to find the right chemistry. Facing the Detroit Pistons could provide a good chance for a successful collective effort.
The Bulls look to bounce back from a season-opening loss and continue their recent dominance over the Pistons on Saturday night at the United Center.
Chicago, which brought in eight new players to build around star Derrick Rose after making the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, lost 106-95 at Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Rose had 28 points, but only four in the final 21 minutes. The Bulls were outscored 24-13 in the fourth quarter.
“You can’t have blown sets in the fourth quarter,” first-year coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think that’s where you have to be at your best. You have to be able to execute under pressure, and we’ll do better. We have to do better.”
Joakim Noah had 18 points with 19 rebounds and Taj Gibson added 16 points and 11 boards Thursday, but veteran newcomers Keith Bogans, C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer combined for 18 points.
With all the new faces, one of which – prized free-agent acquisition Carlos Boozer – is out for another month with a broken hand, the Bulls find themselves in a feeling-out process.
“We just have to do a better job coming together when it hits the fan,” Noah told the Bulls’ official website.
The Bulls have won seven in a row overall against Detroit, and eight straight meetings at the United Center. The Pistons have shot 42.3 percent and averaged 88.6 points during that road skid. Detroit has not won at Chicago since Feb. 24, 2006.
Luol Deng scored 27 points, Rose had 22 and Noah added 16 with 11 boards in a 120-87 win over the Pistons in the teams’ last meeting at the United Center on Jan. 11.
Former Bulls star Ben Gordon averaged 10.5 points on 36.8-percent shooting in four games against Chicago during a disappointing first season with the Pistons in 2009-10. He was held scoreless in six minutes of the January loss at Chicago.
Gordon had 32 points while shooting 11 of 16 from the floor in Detroit’s 105-104 home loss to the Thunder on Friday.
The Pistons (0-2) have not started 0-3 since dropping their first four in 1999-2000.
After blowing a seven-point lead with 1:40 left in Wednesday’s 101-98 loss at New Jersey, Detroit could not stop Oklahoma City’s Jeff Green from making the game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds remaining Friday.
“We have to get better closing out games,” said former Bull and current Pistons center Ben Wallace, who had two points and eight rebounds in the loss to the Nets.
“It’s a long season. If we keep continue to play the way we’re playing, our fortunes will turn and things will start to go our way.”
Detroit could be without backup point guard and Chicago native Will Bynum for a second straight game because of a hamstring injury.
Updated October 30, 2010
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