Boozer, Rose lead Bulls' blowout of Pistons

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Boozer, Rose lead Bulls' blowout of Pistons

Updated: Monday, Jan. 9 at 11:21 p.m.

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com contributor

Beginning their toughest stretch of the abbreviated season, the Chicago Bulls maintained their dominance over the Detroit Pistons with a 92-68 win, their 13th straight over their Central Division rival as they begin their only three-games-in-three-nights stretch of the season.

With little to no practice time to correct areas of concern, the Bulls wanted to establish their defensive edge after a poor showing during Saturday nights 109-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Knowing we have three games in three nights, said Derrick Rose. When we came out there, our whole mindset was to try to get the game over early. Theyre a good team, they have good isolation players but we just made sure we tried to crowd them tonight.

If every night was like this where we played defense and get out and run, it would be easy, he continued. But, its been hard. We tried to come back from last game, where it was embarrassing to play in a game like that and just try and keep playing."

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 23 points, eight rebounds and Rose scored 22 points to go along with eight assists and the starters were able to get a nice rest while the bench held down the fort defensively and put the game away in the fourth.

You put Derrick and Carlos in pick and rolls, theyre tough to stop, said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. They put a lot of pressure on people and I thought they made great decisions. Derrick has seen just about every type of defense there is to see so hes doing a great job of running the team.

The Bulls held the Pistons to 39 percent shooting for the game and only allowed nine points in the fourth quarter as Detroit shot 3 for 14 from the field.

Even with the lopsided margin of victory, the Pistons were only down 68-59 entering the final frame, but the Bulls bench extended an 11-0 run from the third quarter to start the fourth and the defense held serve, not allowing Detroit any breathing room on offense to even achieve a respectable deficit.

"I like the way we started the game on both ends," said Thibodeau. "I thought our ball movement to start the game was really good. It got us into a rhythm and our bench came in and gave us a lift."

As dreaded as the three-game-in-three-night series is -- not to mention the seven-game-in-nine-nights stretch -- the Bulls have found comfort in knowing that every team this season will go through their bout with a brutal stretch of games and some players have embraced the uniqueness in it.

Its kind of like going all the way back to our grassroots with AAU ball, said Boozer. In AAU, when we were in high school, we would go to tournaments in different places and we play two games in one night, three games, we play back to back to back, trying to win the tournament. Its more like AAU but its the NBA so it gives you a chance to flashback and get back to work.

The Bulls will hop on an airplane and punch their time cards again on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-6).

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Spurs tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com, the only place where you can get the hometown call from Neil and Stacey.

Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Attempting to end perfection. The Spurs have been absolutely electric outside of San Antonio this season, winning each of their first 13 road games to begin the year. That's the second longest streak in NBA history, and the Bulls have actually lost two of three at home. The Bulls will be home underdogs as the Spurs look to make it 14 in a row. The good news is the Bulls have defeated the Spurs at home each of the last two seasons.

2. Battle of the two-way studs. There's a real argument to be made that Thursday's matchup will tout the two best two-way players in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is having his best offensive season to date, averaging 24.5 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.9 triples, and averaging nearly 91 percent from the free-throw line. Expect Jimmy Butler and Leonard to be on each other's rear most of the night in what should be one of the most fun 1-on-1 matchups in the NBA.

3. Questions at the point. For the Spurs, Tony Parker is questionable to play with a knee injury. If he can't go, it would be Nico Laprovittola and Patty Mills running the point. For the Bulls, Rajon Rondo is coming off a pair of ugly performances in Bulls' losses to the Mavericks and Pistons (and his suspension against the Blazers). Someone needs to step up at the point, and it could decide Thursday night's winner.

4. Pau returns to the UC. Though it didn't result in much success, Pau Gasol enjoyed two highly successful seasons in Chicago. The stat-stuffer was named an All-Star in both seasons, averaging 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 150 games. He's now in San Antonio, filling Tim Duncan's role in the starting lineup. And though his numvers are down from a year ago, he's still capable of putting up numbers, especially against a Bulls' interior that has struggled of late.

5. Getting Doug McDermott back. Dougie McBuckets has been activated to the Bulls roster, and not a moment too soon. Since McDermott suffered a concussion on Nov. 12, the Bulls bench ranks 26th in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and 30th in 3-point field-goal percentage (23.5 percent). Getting McDermott back, even in a small role as he gets his legs under him, will be a major factor against a Spurs team whose offense continues to heat up in December.

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Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

AUBURN HILLS, MICH—Rajon Rondo almost made it to the quarter mark of the season without incident, but his frustrations got the better of him in Dallas last weekend in a situation with Bulls assistant coach Jim Boylen.

He returned from his one-game suspension in a light mood, but didn’t take things lightly when addressing questions from the media after the Bulls’ 102-91 loss to Detroit.

Rondo admitted that he feels so strongly about things that he doesn’t let them go as easily as he should, which could have been the case with Boylen. Rondo threw a towel after an exchange with Boylen during the Bulls’ blowout loss to the Mavericks.

“That’s a good way to put it. Me as a player, a point guard, I have to handle a situation better,” Rondo said. “But when I feel a certain way, I’m gonna speak on it. My whole thing is always for the betterment of the team.

“If it comes off wrong or a certain way I’ll try to work on that. But for the most part I’m not a selfish individual, I try to do what’s best for the team, try to watch film with my teammates. That’s just part of the game, who I am.”

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When asked if he actually threw a towel at Boylen, Rondo quipped, “You gotta look at the film,” and tried to downplay the situation as best he could, noting the timing of the event in question.

He apologized to the coaching staff and his teammates and believes there won’t be lasting effects, although the Bulls are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

“Hopefully it’ll be the last three-game losing streak,” Rondo said. “It’s about how you handle adversity. We usually handle it well as far as bouncing back.”

Calling the incident “part of the game,” Rondo didn’t want to address specifics but given his history of instances such as these in Boston, Dallas and Sacramento, this one makes it a little harder to shake the reputation of being difficult to deal with.

“I have a good relationship with my team and I take pride in being a great teammate,” Rondo said. “I think we’re still on the same page. When you lose, things get blown out of proportion. When you win, it covers everything up. So we have to get back to winning basketball.”

His teammates have been supportive both behind the scenes and publicly, and were happy to have him back despite not being able to quell the losing streak.

“It was good. That's our starting point guard. We need veteran guys on this team,” Bulls guard Dwyane Wade said. “We need our bodies. He's our leader today so when we got down early he was the one who kept talking to us defensively. He's so smart out there on the floor, takes certain things away, get out in open transition. The reason we got back in the game, he did a good job of leading us in those moments.”