Chicago fans energize Derrick Rose but Pistons fade late in loss to Bulls

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Chicago — In his homecoming game, Derrick Rose was primed to have a breakout game.

The Pistons just couldn’t get close enough for him to have a storybook ending.

The Pistons' Derrick Rose drives against the Bulls' Luke Kornet during the first half.

With the crowd at United Center giving him a warm welcome, including “M-V-P!” chants and cheers whenever he entered the game or shot free throws, the Pistons struggled down the stretch and fell to the Chicago Bulls, 112-106, on Friday night.

The Pistons (2-4) ended their seven-game winning streak against the Bulls and lost both games of the road trip. They’ll finish the back-to-back games on Saturday at home against the Brooklyn Nets.

BOX SCORE: Bulls 112, Pistons 106

Andre Drummond had 25 points, 23 rebounds and four blocks and Rose 23 points and seven assists in 23 minutes. Luke Kennard added 15 points and four assists for the Pistons, who erased a 16-point, third-quarter deficit.

Rose’s reception was the story of the game, with plenty of fans donning Rose’s old Bulls jerseys and even some from high school and college. He said he felt the emotion of his first homecoming as a Piston.

“I felt the love out there. I wish we would have gotten the win. Coming here is always special and playing here is always special,” said Rose, who had 15 points in the first half. “Feeling that energy tonight was something to hold on, for sure.”

More: Injuries wreak havoc on Pistons' rotation

Three-point shooting was the undoing as the Pistons finished just 6-of-29 (21 percent) and fell behind early and had an uphill climb the rest of the way. The Bulls shot 40 percent (16-of-40) and took advantage of the openings the Pistons defense gave them.

“That’s the story of the game. You’ve got Thaddeus Young making threes and Otto Porter making threes and they’ve been struggling. They’re making them and we’re missing our threes — the ones we usually make,” coach Dwane Casey said. “It’s a make-or-miss league and we have to continue to take them, step into them with conviction and go from there.

“I like the way we played the last three quarters — that’s the way you have to play in this league to compete.”

The Pistons took the lead, 100-99, after a basket by Rose and a reverse by Tony Snell with 3:46 remaining but Zach LaVine (26 points) answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to restore Chicago's lead for good.

LaVine finished with 10 of the Bulls’ final 13 points.

The Pistons tied it at 96 on a 3-pointer by Langston Galloway, off a nice pass from Morris. It was the closest the Pistons had been since early in the first quarter

Midway through the third quarter, the Bulls (2-4) looked to have the game in control, bolting to a 16-point lead after an 11-3 run, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Otto Porter (22 points, six rebounds and four assists) and a 3-pointer and lay-in by Tomas Satoransky at the 6:11 mark.

The Pistons answered with a 14-2 run, mostly with a reserve group led by Rose. Galloway had a 3-pointer and a free throw, Christian Wood a lay-in and a pair of free throws and Rose two baskets during the flurry ending the period.

Wood’s three-point play with 2.8 seconds left trimmed the lead to 86-80 entering the fourth quarter.

Kennard got hot early in the fourth, finishing a drive with his right hand and following with 3-pointers on the next two possessions. That sparked a 14-5 run that tied it at 96.

Here are some observations from the matchup:

►Drummond has become more efficient on offense and a better defender overall. His ability to drive to the rim while under control and to finish has been a boon to his offensive game. He has his usual putbacks off offensive rebounds, but he has developed more body control and better dribbling ability to enable him to become more effective in creating his own shots.

►Kennard still is having a hard time melding with the starting group. He struggled to find his shooting stroke but got into the flow of the game after hitting a couple of lay-ups. His 3-pointers in the fourth quarter got the comeback going but he still is looking for the open shots that he typically gets with second-unit defenses. Starters are blitzing him to get the ball out of his hands.

►Turnovers still are an issue, with 17 miscues leading to 19 Bulls points. Without Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin, the offense is stagnant and different players are having to generate offense. Drummond led the team with five turnovers and Rose four.

►The Pistons finished 6-of-29 (21 percent) on 3-pointers and started 1-of-18. They were one of the top 3-point-shooting teams in the league, at 42 percent, but the shots didn’t fall for them against the Bulls.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard