AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—They passed in a hallway well before tipoff, one with apparent greatness in front of him and the other with championships and many annoyed opponents in his past.
Tyson Chandler knows of Bill Laimbeer"Wasn't he on the dirty team?" Chandler saysand smiles when asked if he liked Laimbeer's game.
That's how Chandler is playing, minus Laimbeer's dirty antics. Chandler is averaging 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds in 22 games since the All-Star break and annoying players like Detroit's Cliff Robinson, with whom he exchanged taunts and technicals Feb. 11.
The Bulls followed Chandler's lead Sunday, trading words, shoves and glares with the team with the best record in the East.
Marcus Fizer, in street clothes, even challenged Ben Wallace, who followed Trenton Hassell to the bench after the first quarter because he took exception to a Hassell elbow.
But Detroit isn't the best team with which to mess. Said Wallace: "I'm not worried about a guy wearing a pink tie."
The Pistons, paced by Richard Hamilton's 26 points and Wallace's 20 rebounds, pulled away for a 105-82 victory.
The Bulls have lost seven straight road games and need to win two of their remaining four merely to equal the franchise low of five road victories.
Local native Jalen Rose, who provided 68 tickets for friends and family, scored six points on 3-for-15 shooting. The output marked only the second time in 101 games as a Bull that Rose failed to reach double figures and tied his low.
Eddy Curry's 18 points paced the Bulls, who trailed 49-43 at halftime before Detroit opened the second half with a 13-4 run. Foul trouble limited Chandler to 29 minutes, but he still just missed his fourth straight double-double.
Detroit shot 19 more free throws. "That's a good point," coach Bill Cartwright said.
Jamal Crawford and Jay Williams played 11 minutes in the same backcourt. Crawford had 17 points and eight assists. Williams had 17 points.
The Bulls were without Donyell Marshall, whose sore ribs caused him to miss his first game of the season. Marshall has battled nagging injuries all season and desperately wanted to play all 82 games for the first time in his nine-year career. He vowed to return quickly.
"[Chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf wants us to win 30 games, and we need five more," Marshall said. "I don't want to let him down."
Robinson dismissed Chandler's hiss and vinegar, maintaining the strong rhetoric he used after their last meeting.
"I've got no problem with Tyson Chandler," Robinson said. "I just try to play hard. If that doesn't sit well with him, that's his problem. I've been playing too long to let someone who's not even 21 years old get under my skin."
Chandler's trying. He's just not in Laimbeer's classyet.