Another Bulls game, another Bulls collapse late.
In case you missed the way the Bulls fell apart in the second half against the Clippers at home Saturday, they went to Detroit on Monday and gave everybody another clinic on getting pantsed when it matters.
The Pistons unleashed a 30-16 carpet-bombing in the fourth quarter as Reggie Jackson finished off a 24-point second half.
That was the story for Your Heroes, who were caught by the Pistons for the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But the more interesting aspect of the air sickness bag of a future the franchise is handing fans was the play of all the young players that Bulls management wonks crow about.
That became a bigger deal Monday because of injuries to Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo.
Good news: More minutes for everybody.
Bad news: More minutes for everybody.
Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant and Paul Zipser are three of the young players that management wonks were talking up after trading Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson to Oklahoma City for what appears to be a handful of magic beans.
In the horribly misnamed Palace on Monday, those three started and combined for nine baskets. Pistons guard Reggie Jackson sank 10 in the second half alone.
In a previous lifetime, Nikola Mirotic started for the Bulls, and you wonder how bad he must be to lose that spot on a team that missed the playoff last season and might do it again this year.
Photos from the Bulls-Pistons game on March 6, 2017, in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Mirotic was part of a bench group the Pistons carpet-bombed, especially in the second quarter and the start of the fourth. The supposed shooter did his part to help that destruction by missing four of five three-pointers and five of seven shots in all. The stretch four, however, could not stretch himself enough to grab even one rebound.
Payne, the alleged jewel of the Thunder trade, scored 14 points off the bench, but was still a minus-11. The alleged jewel looks more like cubit zirconium.
Cristiano Felicio, who was supposed to get more play with Gibson gone, was a minus-14 in 15 minutes. That’s such Bulls-like consistency.
Denzel Valentine, the Bulls’ 2016 first-round draft pick who was supposed to be a shooter, missed all three of his shots and was a minus-16 in 15 minutes. I’m not sure which is worse — that Valentine had a bigger minus than his minutes or that he was allowed to play 15 minutes with the game he was having.
Management wonks have been trying to sell this grand plan of competing while getting younger and more athletic. Yes. Well. If ever there was an example of the expected dead-bang failure of that grand plan, the collapse against the Pistons is it.
Or maybe it was the collapse against the Clippers.
No, the failure against the Pistons was worse. The Bulls’ available roster Monday certainly was younger and more athletic. That was their chance to show the Bulls could could compete, even in the dogbreath Eastern Conference.
But no. They couldn’t, and it strikes me that maybe we misheard. Maybe we got the plan wrong. Maybe Bulls management wonks said they wanted to make the team younger and more pathetic.