Pistons-Bulls Preview

Detroit Pistons Status Check:
Record: 24-29
Division: 6-7
Conference: 20-24
Road Record: 9-26
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 99-82 loss to Toronto
PPG: 93.8 (25th)
Opponents PPG: 98.9 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 102.9 (23rd)
Defensive Rating: 108.4 (24th)
Pace: 90.6 (23rd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .482 (21st)
Turnover Percentage: .141 (24th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .728 (23rd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .281 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .193 (23rd)
Opp. eFG%: .505 (19th)
Opp. TO%: .130 (25th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .205 (17th)
Leading scorer: Greg Monroe (15.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Detroit Injury Report:
Will Bynum: questionable (sore hand)
Brandon Knight: doubtful (sprained ankle/broken nose)
Charlie Villanueva: questionable (illness)

Up and down. Up and down. It’s the way Chicago’s season has gone. How did the Bulls follow up their thrilling win over the Miami Heat? By blowing a 12-point lead in the final four minutes of a game against Dallas.

The Bulls led 97-85 before they stopped playing offense with four minutes left. The Mavericks went on a 15-1 run while Chicago missed everything and Dirk Nowitzki came up huge.

The loss is a bad one, blowing a big lead in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, but it isn’t horrible. The Mavericks are a good team, and they are one that is fighting for the eighth place spot in the Western Conference.

The good news for the Bulls is that they’ve won 17 straight games against the Pistons, with the last loss coming in 2008. Chicago may be looking for their 18th straight win over Detroit, but the two games this year have been close.

Chicago won by four on the road in early December, then followed it up with a three-point win at the United Center in January. The Bulls needed an enormous game from Joakim Noah to take get the win in Detroit. Jo tallied 30 points and 23 rebounds, both career highs, and something only three players had done in the past 25 seasons. The Bulls trailed by 17 points in the second quarter before coming back to take the game.

It was a similar story in Chicago. The Bulls were down 17 in this contest as well, before Nate Robinson led a fourth quarter comeback in which Chicago outscored Detroit 28-14. Robinson finished with 11 points and seven assists and Noah kept a loose ball alive to Marco Belinelli who hit the game-winning bucket.

On top of the close games this season, remember that the Bulls are still quite injured. Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli are game-time decisions, while Derrick Rose and Rip Hamilton are out.

The injuries go hand-in-hand with big minutes for those players that are still healthy. There will be some tired bodies on the second night of this back-to-back. Jimmy Butler played 44 minutes, Luol Deng recorded 41 and Carlos Boozer played 37.

But the Bulls offense has been arguable its best all year. Chicago has averaged 101.0 points per game over their last three contests, 8.0 better than their season average. During that stretch, they’ve hit 43.5 percent of their three (30-69). In the month of March, Detroit is allowing 105.3 points per contest, while scoring just 89.1. Both of those are the worst totals of the year for the Pistons. Not surprisingly, they are 1-12 in March.

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