Bulls top Pistons 107-105 in Zach LaVine’s return

Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons puts up a shot between Bobby Portis #5 (L) and David Nwaba #11 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pistons 107-105. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2018
0

Bulls top Pistons 107-105 in Zach LaVine’s return

CHICAGO: Zach LaVine scored 14 points in his first game in 11 months, rookie Lauri Markkanen added 19 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 107-105 on Saturday night.
Chicago made 17 3-pointers and held off several late charges by the Pistons to win for the 13th time in its last 20 games.
LaVine was making his Bulls debut after being acquired from Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade. LaVine, who last season averaged 18.9 points in 47 contests, hadn’t played since he suffered a torn ACL against Detroit on Feb. 3.
Avery Bradley scored 26 points and Andre Drummond had 21 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit, which lost its sixth road game in seven tries.
Markkanen hit a 17-foot shot with 1:08 to go to give the Bulls a 106-105 lead. The game featured 23 lead changes and seven ties.
With LaVine on the court, the Bulls reached 100 points for the 17th time in 20 games after reaching the mark only eight times in their first 23 contests.
LaVine made his first shot, a 27-footer from the right of the key, before he assisted on Robin Lopez’s basket inside. The fourth-year guard followed with an easy 15-footer at the 8:12 mark in the first quarter to give Chicago an early 12-11 lead.
Dwight Buycks had six points for Detroit as it used a 14-3 run to go from down by eight points to taking a 90-87 lead with 9:50 to go in the fourth quarter.
Kris Dunn had 18 points, eight assists and eight rebounds for Chicago. Nikola Mirotic had 16 points and six rebounds off the bench. Bobby Portis scored 15 points.
Eight of Drummond’s 15 rebounds were on the offensive end, which helped Detroit to a 30-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Ish Smith had 12 points and six assists for the Pistons.


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
0

‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”