Bulls-Pistons Preview

Detroit Pistons Status Check:
Record: 26-48
Division: 6-7
Conference: 18-26
Home Record: 19-18
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: Lost 111-101 to Indiana
PPG: 96.2 (24th)
Opponents PPG: 100.2 (16th)
Offensive Rating: 107.1 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 111.6 (28th)
Pace: 88.8 (28th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .492 (20th)
Turnover Percentage: .124 (3rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .714 (28th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .271 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .201 (29th)
Opp. eFG%: .525 (29th)
Opp. TO%: .141 (8th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .236 (21st)
Leading scorer: Rodney Stuckey (14.9)

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Detroit Injury Report:
Will Bynum: personal (questionable for tonight’s game)
Jonas Jerebko: right Achilles surgery (will miss the entire season)
Ben Wallace: sore left knee (questionable for tonight’s game)
Terrico White: right foot surgery (is out indefinitely)

It’s hard to believe the Pistons are just three years removed from playing in the Eastern Conference finals. They were one of the most disciplined and determined teams. Fast forward to earlier this year, right before the All Star break, when five of their players protested practice, to show their disdain for Coach John Kuester. The only guy on that Pistons team 3 years ago that you would expect skip practice is Rasheed Wallace, and he is long gone.

And the idea that, according to sources, the veterans tried to get the whole team to no-show only makes the situation worse. If everyone is against the coach at least the team is united; but it becomes a lot more harmful when the team is splintered. It’s hard to believe that the guys that protested are happy with those that didn’t, and vice versa. The Pistons are 5-13 since the incident. It happened a while ago, but something like that will stay with the team for a while.

This just shows how fast things change in sports. And for the Bulls, the change has been good recently. Everyone has jumped into Tom Thibodeau’s system. Everyone gives their all. Even opponents notice how the Bulls have come together, even with their plethora new additions.

“That’s a team right there,” Minnesota guard Wayne Ellington said. “Them guys play together, man. All the way around. They play together, communicate. They do it the right way.”

Chicago is two games ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference. Everyone is relatively healthy (knock on wood) and the Bulls have won 13 out of their last 15. Chicago still has a chance to finish with the best record in the league, thanks in part to San Antonio’s five game losing streak (the Bulls are 2.5 games back currently, tied with the Lakers).

Tonight the Bulls look to sweep the season series against Detroit. Chicago has won the first three games of this series by an average of nine points. The Bulls are looking for their eleventh straight win against the Pistons, according to Stats LLC.

Rose has averaged 30.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists this year against the Pistons, some of his best numbers against any team. In the second game of the season, the first match-up against Detroit, Rose scored 39 points, grabbed six boards and dished seven assists. That game was the first time Rose heard the “MVP, MVP” chants. His high level of play, and the chants, has continued throughout the season.

The Pistons beat Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back (after losing to Cleveland) on March 26. They then had three days off, before they played the Pacers again. On Wednesday, the Pistons lost to Indiana by ten. Maybe the Pistons were rusty from too much time off, or maybe they just can’t play on the road (they’ve lost nine straight on the road, their last win coming against the Cavaliers).

But they’re at home tonight. And if there has been a bright spot to this season, it could be Greg Monroe. David Thorpe rated Monroe as one of his most improved rookies this year. He is averaging 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in the month of March.

The Bulls had one of their own on that list. Omer Asik made it, not for his stats necessarily (2.9 points, 3.9 rebounds), but for how he affects the game when he is in. We will probably get to see the two go head-to-head at some point during tonight’s game and for years to come.

Injury watch:
Joakim Noah will be a game-time decision tonight. He has only played in one game (October 30) against the Pistons this year. He scored 15 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked three shots.

About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.

One Response to Bulls-Pistons Preview

  1. steverba April 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Hey Matt, what are the chances you be willing to compile a list of potential targets by the Bulls this offseason? I know it’s a little early, but I need something else to think about until playoff time! Aaron Afflalo would be my #1 guy, followed by Courtney Lee. Maybe a look at 2 guards who are in contract years?

    Thanks, Matt, you’re the greatest!

    <3 steverba

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