Whenever a team loses a star player or even a key piece to their makeup, there is the inevitable drop-off in performance and energy. This much proved true as the Bulls slumped to an embarrassing 39-point blowout to the Clippers before being humbled by the previously 1-14 Utah Jazz. The Jazz, owners of the third-worst defense in the NBA, held the Bulls to just 85 points total in an overtime game.
This Bulls team has dealt with adversity before, losing Derrick Rose in the 2012 playoffs forced the team to take a different approach into the 2012-13 season. The real problem this time is the Bulls did not go through the past off-season signing players to insure against another injury to their franchise player, but to compliment him.
That’s all out of the window now.
The Bulls travel to Detroit in the fifth game of this six-game road trip nursing a four-game losing streak, their longest under Tom Thibodeau’s tenure.
The Pistons, currently 6-8 on the season, have gone through some teething problems since overhauling a distinctly mediocre roster this summer. They brought in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to pair with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Head coach Maurice Cheeks has yet to really settle on a cast-iron rotation, evidenced by the fluctuating minutes handed out to his three frontcourt behemoths so far. Josh Smith came off the bench late last week in a move that set alarm bells ringing across the league but later turned out to be the result of a missed practice due to poor communication.
Despite the presence of their newly-forged big three, the Pistons’ defense allows opponents to shoot an NBA-worst 47.7 percent from the floor. Their three-point defense, ranked just 24th at 37.9 percent, is scarcely better though the Bulls have connected on just five of their last 25 shots from distance.
The Pistons, led in scoring by Rodney Stuckey’s 15.9 points per game, come into Wednesday’s game on a two-game winning streak after beating the struggling Brooklyn Nets and lottery-bound Milwaukee Bucks for their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Jimmy Butler will be out still with a sprained toe, he remains the only player besides Rose out tonight.