AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Detroit Pistons punished the Chicago Bulls inside and out - again.
Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points on an array of mid-range shots, a dunk in traffic and 3-pointers to lead Detroit to a 108-87 victory Monday night and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"We haven't had this level of focus in a while," Prince said. "But now that we are going on the road, it's going to be a lot tougher.
"We haven't done anything. We've just held serve."
Game 3 is Thursday in Chicago, giving the Bulls time to figure something out after being dominated in consecutive games.
"We just got completely outplayed in Detroit," said Kirk Hinrich, who didn't make a shot. "We kind of lost our swagger. We need to get our swagger back."
Even though Prince led the way, he had plenty of help. Richard Hamilton had 24 points, Chris Webber scored 22, and Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit. Rasheed Wallace added 10 points.
Chicago's Tyrus Thomas scored 12 of his 18 points in the final quarter to prevent the Pistons from winning by 26, as they did in the series opener, but the Bulls' stars did not shine.
Luol Deng scored 16 on 4-of-12 shooting, Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace each scored 13 and Hinrich was held to two points on 0-for-7 shooting.
Just like Game 1, Detroit took control with a big run in the first quarter and prevented the Bulls from rallying the rest of the way.
"The thing that is the most surprising is that, in both games, we haven't been very competitive," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "Right from the jump ball, they've owned us."
The Pistons led by 24 points early in the second quarter, 23 late in the third and had inside-and-out answers when Thomas helped Chicago pull to 93-80 midway through the fourth. "You have to keep fighting because in the NBA, there are some of the craziest comebacks," Thomas said. "A comeback was possible." Detroit dashed Chicago's hopes by responding to the rally with Rasheed Wallace's dunk on Thomas and Billups' 3-pointer to go ahead by 18. The Pistons are 6-0 in the playoffs, the franchise's best winning streak in a postseason since closing the 1989 championship run with seven straight wins.
"It's been great," Billups said. "We came into the playoffs with an unbelievable amount of focus and determination."
Prince made 9 of 20 shots, including three 3-pointers.
"He can take over games, especially when they try to focus on taking guys like Rip or Rasheed away," Billups said. "He made a lot of big shots." Prince also prevented Deng from a scoring outburst again. Deng scored 18 points on 16 shots in Game 1 after averaging 26.3 points in the first-round sweep over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat. The Bulls made just 23 field goals, matching the playoff franchise low they set in Game 1, and hit just over one-third of their shots. Before the game, Pistons coach Flip Saunders hinted that his team might look to score inside early after beginning with a Billups-led attack in Game 1. It didn't take long to see that was exactly the plan. The Pistons took an 8-0 lead on their first three possessions after Rasheed Wallace backed down P.J. Brown into the lane, Webber drove past Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace dunked - giving them a second three-point play and Brown his second foul. After Chicago scored seven straight, Webber's 18-footer capped a 14-5 run that gave Detroit a double-digit lead. Webber scored 10 points, doubling his Game 1 total, to help the Pistons lead 34-18 with their highest-scoring quarter of the playoffs. "Webb was great," Billups said. "He shot his jumper without hesitation and his jump hook was unstoppable. That's the Chris Webber I'm used to, and that's why he's here." On the first possession of the second quarter, Detroit reserve Jason Maxiell beat Ben Wallace to a loose ball to set up Billups' first of two 3-pointers. Hamilton added two free throws for a 24-point lead. Chicago outscored the Pistons by nine the rest of the quarter to make it 58-43 at halftime. Ben Wallace had a team-high 12 in the first half while Hinrich was scoreless after missing all five of his shots. The Pistons went into the fourth ahead 83-62 and didn't have to worry much about losing their cushion.comments powered by Disqus