Despite what coach Tom Thibodeau keeps saying, this was a night when the Bulls seemed to have less than enough to win with.
Luol Deng joined the injury list Saturday with a sore left Achilles -- and against a mediocre Detroit squad the Bulls came up well short in a 92-75 loss. The Pistons snapped a 14-game losing streak at the United Center in the regular season, dating back to Feb. 24, 2006.
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The Bulls shot 33.3 percent from the field overall, 28 percent in the second half and went 3-for-18 from 3-point range.
They've won plenty of times using short-handed lineups, but without Deng, Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler, the odds may have been too steep.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to just stamina and pushing through," Taj Gibson said. "Everybody in the NBA is capable of stepping up. Everybody is in the NBA for a reason. We've just got to get guys more looks and get guys more confident to come in and be ready."
Gibson switched positions and started in place of Deng at small forward. That part went well, as Gibson finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, controlling a matchup against Detroit's Josh Smith.
But inside points didn't come easy against the Pistons' big front line featuring Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. When the scene shifted to the outside, the Bulls couldn't match up.
Detroit went 12-for-19 from 3-point range. Four different players knocked down long jumpers during a 14-2 run late in the third quarter that stretched the Pistons' lead from 3 points to 15. Point guard Brandon Jennings was the catalyst, finishing with 33 points, a season high with his new team.
The stat lines for many of the Bulls were nasty. Kirk Hinrich was 1-for-10 from the field, Carlos Boozer 4-for-16, Tony Snell 3-for-12 and Joakim Noah 1-for-7.
"I liked the way we started the game," Thibodeau said. "I liked all the way up to the last two minutes of the second quarter."
The good news for the Bulls (8-10) is that Deng is not expected to be out long. He thinks he might be back Tuesday when they host Milwaukee. Jimmy Butler, who hasn't played since Nov. 18, could return soon from a turf toe injury.
Of course, that assumes no one else gets hurt between now and then. Considering how things have gone for the Bulls the past three seasons, that is no guarantee.
"For us, we've got to get back in that gym. We've got to work," Thibodeau said. "We have enough. Defensive transition, that's something we can take care of. We've got to look at the threes to figure out how they got those and how we can cover it better. They made some that were defended well, but some were open."