Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Does it seem like it’s been a while since the Pistons have been back out on the road? Cause it has been. This is only the second game this month the Pistons have been the away team.
Sure, that's tinkering with the facts a little bit since one of those home games took place in London. But still, 9 of the last 10 games have technically been home games.
Game tips at 8 p.m. EST
So the Pistons have over a solid month of competent basketball. How about that? Hat tip to the Wizards for being such accommodating slump busters. But they have struggled mightily on the road for the season. With two teams competing for the East crown on this three game trip, they'll be hard pressed to turn things around.
The Bulls enter today's game as winners of four of their last five. But even as the road team and on a back-to-back, the Pistons ought to have the fresher legs. The Bulls are in their fifth game since last Wednesday, a stretch that includes three overtime games.
They've also been without Luol Deng the past two games, and he remains questionable for tonight's game. The Pistons are a bit banged up too, with both Stuckey and Knight dealing with twisted ankles.
In their first matchup, Stuckey and Knight carried the Pistons to the tune of 45 points on only 23 shots. But this wasn't enough as Joakim Noah decided to go out and win everyone's week in fantasy basketball, leading the Bulls to a 108-104 win. Neither team could stop the other, the difference came on the boards where the Bulls led 41-23.
Keys to the Game
Frontcourt matchup: Boozer and Noah exploded for 54 points on 38 shots, 29 rebounds (more than the Pistons had total), 8 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Geez Louise. We need better than that from our big men. Keep those two off the glass, don't give up easy baskets, obvious stuff like that.
Bench: The bench was what kept the Pistons in the game in their first meeting. With so many minutes in the past week, that may be an even bigger advantage for the Pistons to exploit tonight. Along those lines, let's get out in transition.
Jimmy Butler: I like Jimmy Butler. I wouldn't go as far as to say that he's sneakily been the Bulls' best player. But he has sneakily been really, really good. With Deng hobbled, Butler has gotten big minutes the past couple games. He hasn't been great in those two, but still, he's legit. He's athletic, can get to the rim, and plays tough defense. Let's keep him under control.
After a big win against the the Celtics, the Pistons are firmly in the playoff race, two spots and four games back. What do you put the playoff odds at?