Bulls-Pistons Preview

Detroit Pistons Status Check:
Record: 18-32
Division: 3-7
Conference: 13-20
Road Record: 6-20
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Won 2
Last game: 87-75 win over Cleveland
PPG: 89.9 (28th)
Opponents PPG: 95.4 (15th)
Offensive Rating: 100.4 (28th)
Defensive Rating: 106.6 (23rd)
Pace: 89.0 (29th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .462 (29th)
Turnover Percentage: .151 (27th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .732 (17th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .284 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .213 (13th)
Opp. eFG%: .507 (27th)
Opp. TO%: .142 (10th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .224 (23rd)
Leading scorer: Rodney Stuckey (16.1)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Detroit Injury Report:
Ben Gordon: doubtful (sore groin)
Rodney Stuckey: doubtful (sore hamstring)

Overview:
The Bulls reasserted themselves as a great team, even without Derrick Rose in the line-up, with a dominating win over the Hawks. Now Chicago has to carry that tenacity over to tonight’s game, against the Detroit Pistons.

The Bulls took the first two games against Detroit, rather easily.

These two games also put Rip Hamilton’s season in perspective. On January 4th, Rip made his return to the line-up in a game at the Palace at Auburn Hills. It was a home-coming for Rip, and probably a pretty special moment for him. He scored 14 points and dished five assists in 32 minutes. He looked pretty good. Then on January 9th, when the two teams met again, this time in Chicago, Rip was…on the bench.

This is the position that Bulls fans expect Rip to start (and finish) the game in—the sitting one. In the ten games surrounding that January 4th Bulls-Pistons match-up, Rip played in none of them. Maybe he rushed back to the line-up, so he could have a homecoming, maybe he is just getting unlucky this year with injuries. Either way, it’s been a long time since we saw Rip play.

Tonight may be the night though. Hamilton went through a full shoot-around earlier today and is a game-time decision, according to Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago.

Tonight is the third match-up of the season series; one more game will follow in mid-April.

Carlos Boozer was the leading scorer in both games, and he did it efficiently. In the first game, Boozer was 9-15 from the field, for 19 points and also had three steals. In the next match-up he scored 23 points on 9-13 shooting, and added eight rebounds.

When Boozington is on, he’s on. The problem is he’s usually only on against sub-par teams. Although he did play well against Atlanta, scoring 20 points (8-13) and grabbing nine rebounds.

It could be a long night for Detroit. The Pistons rank 28th in offensive rating, at 100.4, while the Bulls are second in defensive rating, with a 99.1 rating (Philadelphia is still in first, a full two points better than Chicago). Detroit has averaged 75.5 points in the two previous match-ups, which probably won’t be enough to get the job done.

Greg Monroe did find some ways to score against the Bulls this year. He scored 19 points (8-15 shooting) and had 13 rebounds in game one, then scored 14 points (5-9 shooting) with ten rebounds in the most recent match-up.

Points don’t come easy against the Bulls, and they don’t come easy for the Pistons.

To add insult to injury, Detroit may be without their leading scorer, Rodney Stuckey (16.1) and another scorer, Ben Gordon (12.3).

Stuckey played just seven minutes in Detroit’s win over the Cavaliers. Gordon didn’t play, but Tayshaun Prince came up big; scoring 29 points. The Cavs shot 34.5 percent from the field. You don’t win many games shooting that poorly.

The Bulls can’t overlook this game, but one of the biggest tests of this season is coming up on Sunday, when Chicago takes on Oklahoma City. It’d be nice if Rose was back for that game, but Chicago needs to take care of business tonight, before hitting the road to take on the best in the West.

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