Pistons-Bulls Preview

Detroit Pistons Status Check:
Record: 22-37
Division: 3-9
Conference: 17-25
Home Record: 15-13
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 113-97 loss to Milwaukee
PPG: 90.5 (28th)
Opponents PPG: 96.1 (15th)
Offensive Rating: 101.1 (27th)
Defensive Rating: 107.3 (24th)
Pace: 88.9 (29th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .467 (28th)
Turnover Percentage: .151 (29th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .730 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .286 (9th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .213 (12th)
Opp. eFG%: .508 (26th)
Opp. TO%: .140 (12th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .226 (25th)
Leading scorer: Greg Monroe (15.8)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Pistons Injury Report:
None

Overview:
The Bulls took a big step towards the number one seed in the East with an exciting win over Miami Thursday night. They need to continue taking care of business to stay on top now.

Chicago has a 3.5 game lead on the Heat, with seven games to play. And the Bulls next three games should be easy victories. After tonight’s Pistons game, the Bulls are right back at it tomorrow night at home against Washington, before playing at Charlotte. Their combined records are 43-134. Not quite the top teams in the league, and with everyone seemingly fighting for Anthony Davis at this point, who knows what Chicago will see.

But the Bulls have some things to work on. Derrick Rose needs to remember how to put the basketball through the hoop, after going 1-13 from the field against Miami, and recording a minus-27 plus/minus. Luckily for Chicago, C.J. Watson stepped up, scoring 16 points and dishing nine assists (among many other guys who stepped up).

But Watson isn’t going to do it in the playoffs. If the Bulls want to go far, they’re going to need Rose at full strength. With just seven games left, this is the Bulls biggest worry. But Rose doesn’t appear to be concerned.

“These games right here will make me a better player, a stronger player,” Rose said after the victory.

The Rose-Boozer-Deng-Noah-Hamilton starting line-up has started just 12 games together this season, going 10-2 in those starts. Even if they start the final games of the season together, 19 games isn’t a huge amount of minutes to get to know each other. But it’s all they have.

Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have played together for most of the season, and last year, so they’ll be fine. But Rose and Rip need to be playing together, because Rip is a very different shooting guard than Derrick is used to playing with (I’m looking at you, Keith Bogans).

The Bulls also need to stay healthy. Rose has missed games with a bunch of different injuries, and still could be nursing a sprained ankle (Rose claimed it didn’t bother him during the Heat game). Boozer could go down any second and Deng already has an injured wrist he’s playing through. The Bulls really haven’t been healthy all season, but now would be the time to be at full strength.

As far as the Bulls-Pistons match-ups this season, Chicago has won each of the three match-ups, by an average of 17.3 points per game. The closest game was the most recent one, a 12-point Chicago win, without Rose or Hamilton. The Bulls haven’t lost to Detroit since December of 2008.

This game isn’t so much about Detroit and Chicago, as it is about Chicago getting their act together for the playoffs.

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