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Bulls Let Big Lead, Playoff Hopes Slip Away

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 11, 2007 12:51PM

It really looked like the Bulls were going to get themselves back into this series against the Detroit Pistons ... for a half anyway. In the second half, Detroit stormed back to beat the Bulls 81-74.

2007_05_sports_bulls_pistons_game3.jpgUp by 16 at halftime, the Bulls led by as many as 19 points shortly into the third quarter. The Bulls looked like the were on the way to dismantling the Pistons at the United Center the same way the Pistons had done to the Bulls on their home court.

The momentum shifted dramatically, and by the end of the third quarter the Bulls led by just one point. Tayshaun Prince scored 13 points, and Chauncey Billups added 10 points in the third quarter, after the entire Pistons team mustered up only 28 first-half points. Meanwhile, Detroit's zone defense shut down the Bulls offense.

The Bulls shot just 34% from the field, with Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich combining to make just 10 of 31 shots. In the fourth quarter, the Bulls hit on only 4 of 25 shots — not good! The Bulls also shot a Shaq-like 61% from the free throw line. As in the first two games, poor shooting killed the Bulls — they've yet to shoot even 35% in any of the three games.

With Detroit up 3-0 in the series, it's all but over. No team in the NBA has ever come back from a three-game deficit to win a best-of-seven series. And with shooting like the Bulls have displayed in the first three games, they certainly won't be the first. The only question is whether the Bulls' summer vacation begins on Sunday or Tuesday.

Photo via AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh.