The singe marks the Pistons placed on the Bulls on Saturday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills had nothing on those issued by coach Scott Skiles.
Late in the third quarter of a dreadful, record-setting-for-the-wrong-reasons 95-69 loss, Skiles had seen enough.
The fiery coach, whose sideline demeanor ranged from steely stares to slouching surrender, shouted at his team three times in succession: "Know what the [expletive] you're doing!"
Frustrated, he then mockingly mimicked his team's excuse-making, seeking execution instead: "My bad, my bad, my bad. Let's go!"
The Bulls never left the starting gate in a loss that could reverberate all the way to Monday night's Game 2. Game 1 winners in best-of-seven series have prevailed 79 percent of the time in NBA playoff history.
Outplayed in all areas, the Bulls set a franchise record for fewest points in 270 career playoff games and their 28 second-half points and 23 field goals also established marks for postseason futility.
Their 32.9 percent shooting, second-worst in playoff franchise history, featured just three fourth-quarter field goals and helped the Bulls tie a franchise record for largest margin of playoff defeat.
Where are Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade when you need them?
"The Pistons flat outplayed us," a calmer Skiles said afterward. "All the loose balls they got. They were all over the glass. They were the aggressor. That's generally our calling card. We may lose but we generally play harder than our opponents.
"They taught us a lesson. The series isn't won in one game. But we needed this as a learning experience. The good thing is we won a series [over the Heat]. The bad thing is everybody tells our guys how great they are."
Such words will be in short supply after this performance.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 18 points and eight rebounds, but he also had four of the Bulls' 22 turnovers that led to 19 Pistons points.
Ben Gordon, attacked by Chauncey Billups early, drew two fouls in the first 3 minutes 37 seconds and never got on track offensively. He finished with seven points.
Only Kirk Hinrich, with 15 points, six assists and one turnover, and a spry Ben Wallace looked effective offensively.
"They did a good job defensively," Gordon said. "But we had a bunch that were unforced, careless passes we could have avoided."
Skiles had noted that after two strong practices early in the week, the Bulls looked bored and unfocused Thursday and Friday. Make that Saturday, too.
P.J. Brown matched Gordon's foul total after 4:56, which put the Pistons in the penalty early and brought Andres Nocioni off the bench.
Typically, that's a good thing. Not in Game 1. Nocioni took back-to-back bad shots and then committed back-to-back worse turnovers.
He got benched for rookie Tyrus Thomas.
"We weren't into it right from the beginning," Skiles said. "It's a dead giveaway when we're stumbling around, the ball is popping out of our hands and we looked catatonic.
"Foul trouble is another way you can tell we're not on, when we come out and we're a half-step slow and start fouling. We had so many breakdowns it was extreme. You're not going to beat the Pistons one time like that."
Reserves Antonio McDyess, Carlos Delfino and Jason Maxiell helped the Pistons seize a 54-41 halftime lead with energy and offensive rebounds.
The Bulls pulled within 64-54 midway through the third and Deng had a wide-open 15-footer to cut the deficit to eight. He clanked that, Richard Hamilton scored on a fast-break jumper at the other end and the Bulls went ice cold.
Close to six minutes passed before their next field goal.
By the time Rasheed Wallace, Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions to open the fourth, the Pistons led 79-57 and Skiles' suitcoat featured worn shoulders from more slouching.
"We're surprised because we knew they were going to play with energy," Hinrich said. "We didn't do a good job of handling it."
The loss didn't square with the proud playoff history these franchises share. Five previous meetings, spanning buildings like Cobo Arena, Chicago Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome, had featured taut battles and physical responses.
In their first playoff meeting since the Pistons were swept out of the 1991 Eastern Conference finals, the Bulls played as if this series could be a quick one.
"This isn't a lesson," Wallace said. "We already know that if we don't play with energy, we usually get beat. That's the way it has been all season. We have to play the way we play. If we play like this, we're not going to beat the Pistons."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times