An overwhelming defensive effort powered the host Chicago Bulls to their first 3-0 start in five years after a 97-82 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
The Bulls held the Pistons to just 15 points in the second quarter, then 11 in the third, to build a commanding lead despite enduring their own shooting woes.
Chicago shot just 35-of-84 (41.7 percent) from the floor, including 6-of-18 from Zach LaVine on a 14-point night. LaVine scored a combined 66 points in the Bulls’ two previous games, including 34 in Wednesday’s season-opening win over Detroit.
Chicago compensated for the quiet night from its star scorer with a balanced performance. Six Bulls scored in double figures, led by DeMar DeRozan’s game-high 21 points.
Nikola Vucevic finished with 15 points and a game-high 19 rebounds, and Lonzo Ball added 13 points. Reserves Javonte Green and Alex Caruso came off the bench to score 10 and 12 points, and Caruso helped energize Chicago defensively with five steals.
Ball contributed another three steals as part of Detroit’s 20 turnovers overall. Chicago turned its takeaways into 24 points.
Detroit compounded its turnover issues with a woeful 34-of-88 (38.6 percent) shooting performance from the field, including 5-of-28 from beyond the 3-point arc. Trey Lyles made three of the Pistons’ 3-pointers, providing some spark off the bench and finishing with 12 points.
Lyles was one of only three Pistons to score in double-figures, joining Kelly Olynyk with 10 points and Saddiq Bey with a team-high 20. Bey also grabbed 16 rebounds.
Despite its offensive struggles, Detroit whittled away at the deficit in the fourth quarter. The Pistons pulled within 13 points on Cory Joseph’s step-back jumper with 5:34 left, but they never came any closer.
Detroit was without No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, (ankle sprain) who did not travel with the team for the three-game road swing that began on Saturday.