It would have been just another jawing session between two oversized egos. It would have fizzled out and everyone would have been just fine.
But then some jerk Pistons fan had to go and hit Tyrus Thomas in the face with a tube of lip balm. Oh hell no.
The Bulls responded to the act of violence by cruising to a 106-88 victory over the Piston in Detroit, bringing their season record to 3-1 against the Pistons.
The flair up with Thomas occurred when Richard Hamilton shoved Thomas on a play away from the ball, prompting shoving, jawing, an impromptu staring contest, a “your mom is so fat”-off, and a game of rock, paper, scissors-all eventually leading to the ejection of both players.
Then while walking off the court, Thomas was then struck in the face with a container of lip balm thrown by one of the crowd’s 22,000 Pistons fans, long known for their interactive approach to observing the game.
The fan was later arrested and declared “not manly enough” to be a Pistons fan by team officials.
“Our fans don’t wear lip balm,” a team official said of the incident. “While hurling an object at an opposing player is something we’ve come to expect from our fans, we can not condone the act when the object in question is lip balm. What a pansy.”
The “ouchy” on Thomas’ cheek aside, it was an all-around great game for the Bulls, shooting 53 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Pistons by a margin of 48-32.
Kirk Hinrich led the team with 29 points and 8 assists. Ben Wallace sat out against his former team with a sinus infection, but his slack was quickly picked up by Thabo Sefolosha, who got the start and put up 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Ben Gordon did his best PJ Brown imitation, putting up two hard-fought points in just 12 minutes of foul-happy play.
The Bulls remain a half-game back from the Cavs for the second seed in the East, but are now kicking themselves for not thinking sooner that they should try to fall to the eight seed to face the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs.
Number of the night: 6
Bulls’ regular season games left. But the question remains: When will fans actually decide to start caring?