8:30 PM ET
Chicago: 22-29 (13-10 home)
Margin: -1.9 ppg (+2.9 last 25%)
Pistons: 27-22 (13-10 home)
Margin: -0.2 (-2.2 last 25%)
The Pistons swing into Chicago in the battle of the deteriorating teams. Chicago's strange descent from promising young team with future all-stars to overpriced lottery fodder has been astonishing. Even rookie Derrick Rose has gotten in on the act, as his strong start has settled into something hovering around "average", having been outpaced by fellow Rookies Kevin Love, Greg Oden and Russel Westbrook. Maybe there's something in the water.
To make matters worse, the Bulls have placed Larry Hughes, who had enjoyed a mild resurgence since joining the team, on the inactives list. They are also expected to be without leading rebounder Drew Gooden.
Expect, then, to see a lot of minutes for Aaron Gray and Joakim Noah. That should mean plenty of fouls from a team that ranks among the league leaders. It will be interesting to see which Tyrus Thomas shows up. He's been solid the last three games, which means he's due for a 2-10 shooting night.
Remember Scottie Pippen? For that matter, remember Luol Deng?
Keys for Detroit:
Get to the line:As mentioned above, Chicago's big men are foul prone, as is Andres Nocioni. The Bulls don't have much of a bench to turn to, so foul trouble will be very costly.
Find Stuckey: The Bulls had no answer for Rodney Stuckey (40 points) last time around, so the Pistons should look to him early and often.
Force Rose outside: When the Bulls are successful, Rose is able to get to the basket and kick it out to an array of perimeter shooters. Cut off his game, and the Bulls will tumble.
Question of the game:
Is it the All Star break yet? The Pistons end the first half of the season with a crescendo, playing 4 games in 5 days. They looked exhausted against Phoenix.