Coverage Begins at 8:00 pm ET
Chicago: 33-38 (21-12 home)
Margin: -1.1 ppg (+0.9 last 25%)
Pistons: 34-35 (16-17 road)
Margin: -0.4 (-0.3 last 25%)
So John Salmons was the missing piece? The Bulls are substantially improved with Salmons in the lineup, and he is averaging 22 ppg over the last 11. Chicago has won four out of its last five, including a six point win over the Celtics.
This game has potential seeding implications, though it probably means more to Chicago, which is trying to fend off Charlotte, Milwaukee and New Jersey for the final playoff spot. Then again, if Detroit loses tonight, they won't be much better off.
I think we've seen enough of Chicago to know what they do, but let me ask this. Has any team featuring such young talent been so boring to watch? Part of the problem is the Bulls' utter averageness. They really don't stand out it any particular area. Part of it is that, on any given night, three players fail to mentally show up. Tyrus Thomas is usually one of them.
Something tells me Salmons is going to give us fits, though I don't know if it will be all that dramatic.
Keys for Detroit
Get Stuckey going: It's not like they have much choice. It's that or hope for a big night from Jason Maxiell.
Stay in front on 'D': With Salmons on board, the Bulls have a real dribble penetration threat (with apologies to Derrick Rose). This will become a free throw parade if Detroit isn't careful.
Show up in the 4th quarter: Remember the last time we faced this team? Yeah, that sucked. We didn't bebound or show sensurgency or anything.
Question of the Game
Can we catch a break? Detroit is now 3-13 in it's last 16 games decided by 5 points or fewer. That is some pretty bad luck. If we were, say, 7-6, we'd be sitting in the 5 seed right now.