Bulls fall to the Pistons, 119-87.
Bulls finish the season, 27-54.
The Bulls Wednesday closed out the 2017-18 season much as they began it, losing a fourth consecutive game and 11th in the last 14, this time 119-87 to the Detroit Pistons.
The Bulls finished 27-55, their first season with fewer than 30 wins since 2003-04 when they were 23-59. It was the first season the Bulls recorded fewer than 40 wins since 2007-08. That was the season the Bulls ended up getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery and selecting Derrick Rose in the draft.
The team’s attention now turns to that NBA draft. The Bulls finish with the seventh poorest record in the NBA unless Sacramento loses later Wednesday night. Then they would be tired for sixth poorest. The May 15 lottery drawing will determine the draft order with the drawing for the top three picks. After that, the selections go in order by record.
The Bulls were led by Lauri Markkanen with 20 points. He was three of seven on threes and set a franchise rookie record for most three pointers made. Sean Kipatrick had 14 points. Bobby Portis had 11 off the bench and Jerian Grant 10. David Nwaba added 13 and Cristiano Felicio 10.
The Pistons had a 20-11 edge in fast break points and 44-24 off the bench.
The Pistons were without the injured Blake Griffin. Andre Drummond stayed out, also. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday didn’t play for the Bulls, who introduced Markkanen last with the starters. Markkanen also delivered the pregame remarks to the fans for the final home game. Kilpatrick got his first start along with recent regular starters Markkanen, Cameron Payne, Nwaba and Felicio. The Bulls got off to a 12-7 start as Markkanen closed within one of Kirk Hinrich’s Bulls rookie record for three pointers. But the Pistons using the three effectively piled a 15-0 run on the Bulls to take a 22-12 lead. The Bulls made a bit of a move on a Ryan Arcidiaciono steal and fast break for a Nwaba three-point play. But the Pistons closed the quarter with six straight for a 35-21 lead after one quarter. The Pistons shot 70 percent and made five of six threes while the Bulls missed seven of nine threes in the quarter. The Pistons hit the gas again to open the second quarter to speed ahead 46-27. The Bulls scored six straight with Arcidiacono adding a three before the Pistons found the three ball range again for a 56-40 lead with 2:46 left in the first half. With Henry Ellenson adding a pair of late threes, the Pistons went into halftime lading 66-50. Detroit still was at 57.8 percent shooting at the half and 10 of 19 on threes. Markkanen had a dozen points while Anthony Tolliver had 18 for the Pistons.
The Pistons finally cooled off and the Bulls defense awakened some early in the second half, the Bulls hitting the Pistons with a 10-0 run behind the play of Markkanen with a three, fouled on a three-point attempt and then with a steal, behind the back and full court dribble that had the Bulls within 71-63. Detroit missed five straight shots with a pair of turnovers. But then the Pistons answered with their own 11-0 streak featuring the play of Ish Smith to regain a 20-point lead. The Pistons then went into the fourth quarter leading 94-74. The Pistons extended that with a 10-2 run to open the fourth quarter.
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