The Detroit Pistons will be looking for their second consecutive win without two of the key cogs to their most recent victory as Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo serve suspensions as a result of the altercation against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Hayes is suspended three games and Diallo one for their roles in the fracas. Moritz Wagner is suspended two games while eight of his teammates will serve staggered one-game suspensions for leaving the bench.
The team will be facing a streaking Chicago Bulls team that seems to have navigated their way through a low-point of the season and come out the other side. On Dec. 16, the Bulls were 11-18, some stars were grumbling and people wondered whether it was time to blow it up and start all over again.
Not saying they’ve solved all their problems in the past 10 days, but the Bulls have won four of five, including a thrilling 119-113 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +8.5
If the Pistons have any hope of beating the Bulls, it will be all about containing DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. That means contesting jumpers and limiting the Bulls to one shot. The good news is, the Bulls spaced-out offense and undersized wings mean they have virtually punted on crashing the offensive boards. They rank 29th in offensive rebounding percentage and instead look to beat teams with efficienct jump-shooting from the mid-range.
No team in the NBA takes more two-point field goals than the Bulls, and those shots rarely come from within 10 feet of the basket. Instead, Chicago relies on 18 attempts per game from the mid-range. The team hits 45% on mid-range shots, so the Pistons can’t simply surrender those looks and hope for the best. They must contest.
That will be difficult without Hayes, the team’s best perimeter defender, but it will be a chance for Detroit’s big men Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart to navigate keeping one eye on their men while also being willing to step up and get a hand in the face of a DeRozan or LaVine. Those two combined for 68 points in Chicago’s OT win against the Bucks, including 19 trips to the free-throw line.
It will be interesting to see what coach Dwane Casey does with his rotation during the three games Hayes will be out. He could slot Cory Joseph into the starting lineup or he could put the ball in Jaden Ivey’s hands and throw out Alec Burks, who can also command the offense, as a security blanket at shooting guard.
With Diallo missing tonight’s game, it will be another chance for Kevin Knox to fight his way back into the rotation.
Detroit Pistons (9-28)
Cory Joseph, Jaden Ivey, Bogjan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Chicago Bulls (15-19)
Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic
Question of the Day
Do you think the NBA handled the punishments between the Pistons and the Magic appropriately?