Bulls shoot 7 percent from 3-point range in loss to league-worst Pistons

CHICAGO — Four players from the Detroit Pistons made as many or more 3-pointers as the Chicago Bulls made in a 105-95 home loss Tuesday.

“It’s a total outlier game in terms of that kind of shooting,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.

The Bulls shot a season-worst 2-for-29 from 3-point range. Their starters went 1-for-24 from that distance. Detroit hit 14 of 37 from deep. Simone Fontecchio, acquired by the Pistons at the trade deadline three weeks ago, shot 5-for-8 on 3s, going 3-for-6 from that range in the decisive fourth quarter.

“I was just laughing in my head,” said Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu. “That’s just crazy. Like, what are the odds of that happening?”

About the same as the Bulls losing for the second time this season to the Pistons, who moved into a tie with the Washington Wizards for last in the NBA at 9-49.

“At the end of the day, Detroit, they’re an NBA team,” said Dosunmu, one of three Bulls players who went 0-for-5 on 3s. “They have good NBA players. We never look at the records. We understand in this league, any given night, anybody can be beat.”

Despite their wretched shooting, the Bulls still could have secured a victory.

They attempted 23 more shots than the Pistons and scored 25 points off 20 Detroit turnovers. Meanwhile, the Pistons scored only 6 points off six Bulls turnovers.

Chicago gained a 13-point, first-half lead, outscored the Pistons 18-10 in second-chance points, and got splendid performances from the big man combo of Nikola Vučević and Andre Drummond. The centers combined for 45 points and 21 rebounds, shooting 21 of 37.

“I’m hoping that we can really learn from a lot of this,” Donovan said. “It wasn’t like we were down 25 because of (poor shooting). I thought the loose balls, the offensive rebounds, the hustle plays, the transition — we still had opportunities to overcome it. And I’ve always talked about the things we can control. And I did think to a certain extent the frustration got in a little bit. I thought it was a very physical game on both sides. And when you’re not shooting the ball particularly well or things are not going your way when you’re shooting the ball, you have to manufacture other things to try to offset that. And your margin for error really shrinks.”

The Bulls shot just 39.8 percent overall and made only 15 of 51 shots (29.4 percent) in the second half. DeMar DeRozan and Coby White scored 15 points on a combined 3-for-18 shooting in the second half. The team’s two leading scorers rank first and second in the NBA in total minutes, but both are prideful competitors who refuse to cite their workload as an excuse. White logged a game-high 41 minutes on Tuesday. DeRozan played 40.

Outside of Drummond’s 20 points off the bench, second-year forward Dalen Terry’s three points were Chicago’s only other bench points.

Alex Caruso falls to the court after getting his foot stepped on in the second half. He injured his right hamstring and left late in the fourth quarter. (Melissa Tamez / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a bigger issue for the Bulls could be brewing. Alex Caruso injured his right leg in a collision during the second half. The Bulls guard left the game and was said to be questionable to return but re-entered late in the fourth quarter. Caruso played 2 1/2 minutes before exiting again with 2:18 remaining. The team announced the injury was to his right hamstring.

“I didn’t like the way he was moving, and I just took him off.” Donovan said. “He didn’t ask to come out. I think he would have preferred to stay in. But I just did not like the way he was running. It was my decision to take him off.”

The Bulls play the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday against the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 20-5 in 2024, and beat Dallas on a 59-foot Max Strus buzzer-beater on Tuesday. The Cavs also are 3-0 against the Bulls this season.

Chicago now faces a difficult stretch that makes Tuesday’s loss to the Pistons tougher to overcome.

“It’s disappointing because you’re late in the season,” Dosunmu said. “We understand the importance and the sense of urgency we have to play with each and every night. I think we let one slip away tonight.”

(Top photo of Andre Drummond defending as Cade Cunningham goes to the basket: Kamil Krzaczynski / USA Today)

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