The day after a high-intensity fourth quarter against Atlanta on Tuesday, the Bulls were in danger of being lulled to sleep at a nearly empty Palace of Auburn against the lowly Detroit Pistons.
The Bulls cruised to a relatively easy 99-83 victory to improve to 6-1 on the season, but the Pistons issued a few unwelcome wake-up calls at the end.
Contact information ( * required )
With 5:33 left, former Bulls guard Ben Gordon committed a flagrant foul against ex-teammate Joakim Noah. It wasn't a vicious attack or anything.
Gordon got caught on a switch trying to guard Noah in the post and when the 7-foot center caught the ball, Gordon tried to wrap him up high and ended up smacking Noah in the head with a forearm.
The Bulls were more concerned with a foul two minutes later. Derrick Rose drove to the basket and was fouled by Detroit's Damien Wilkins.
It wasn't a particularly rough foul, but Rose took a hard fall when he hit the floor and immediately reached for his left elbow.
Rose (17 points, 10 assists) stayed in the game, hit both free throws and later added a layup. But later the elbow was encased in ice and Rose went for X-rays, which were negative.
"I'm fine," Rose told reporters in the locker room. "As long as it's not broke I'm good. It's not broke. I'm moving. If it was broke, I wouldn't be moving at all. I would be yelling."
The Bulls have a day off Thursday, before finishing a three-game road trip against Orlando and Atlanta this weekend.
"It's just like any other time when you fall," Rose added. "You're definitely going to be sore, but thank God we don't play (Thursday) and I can rest.
"(The elbow) hit on the court. First it felt good, until I went back to the bench, then it was kind of sore and throbbing a little bit, but I'm all right. It's something I can play through."
The Bulls have played without backup point guard C.J. Watson the past two games. He suffered a dislocated left elbow Sunday against Memphis and probably will sit out the rest of the trip.
Overall, this was a routine win against an inferior opponent. The Bulls never trailed after jumping to a 9-2 lead.
Thibodeau complained about the lack of fastbreaks in the 19-point comeback win over the Hawks. Against Detroit, the Bulls produced 25 fastbreak points.
Noah and Carlos Boozer bounced back from tough nights against Atlanta. Boozer scored a team-high 19 points, while Noah added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Taj Gibson (12 points) added to the Bulls' inside dominance.
This game also marked the Detroit return of Richard Hamilton. After nine years with the Pistons, he accepted a contract buyout and signed with the Bulls just before the season began.
Hamilton returned to the lineup after missing two games with a groin strain and scored 14 points Wednesday.
"I was just like, 'Man, please don't start crying or anything crazy like that,'" Hamilton said. "Just hurry up and let the ball get thrown up so I can go out there and play."
The Pistons (2-4) had won two in a row. Center Greg Monroe led Detroit with 19 points while Gordon hit just 2 of 10 shots for 7 points.
"I thought we played terrible," Gordon said. "No disrespect to the Bulls, that's a good team. But we had a horrible effort."