NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 11th
(All times Eastern)
Detroit Pistons (29-50) at Chicago Bulls (46-32), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls will try to inch into the third seed
in the playoff race Friday night when they welcome long-time rival, the
Detroit Pistons, to the United Center.
The Bulls are tied with the Toronto Raptors for the third spot in the Eastern
Conference. Chicago has been on a tear of late, winning six straight and eight
of its last nine.
The sixth consecutive victory came Wednesday night with a 102-87 road win over
the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
Joakim Noah posted yet another triple-double, this time with 15 points, 13
rebounds and 10 assists. The triple-double was Noah's fourth of the season,
tied with Indiana's Lance Stephenson for the most in the league.
"It feels good to play well but the important thing is winning," Noah said.
"We have four games left, just trying to stay focused, keep our mind on
D.J. Augustin added a game-high 21 points off the bench for the Bulls, who
have won two in a row at home. Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points, Mike Dunleavy
notched 15 and Jimmy Butler added 14 points and seven assists.
The Bulls will finish off another impressive regular season with a road
matchup against the New York Knicks, a home tilt with the Orlando Magic and
the season finale in Charlotte.
Chicago has moved past the Pacers as the best defensive team in the NBA, at
least in terms of opponents' scoring. The Bulls allow 91.6 ppg, but are second
to Indiana in opponents' field-goal percentage.
The Pistons have been one of the league's biggest disappointments this season.
Detroit cemented a third 50-loss season in the last four and that's the same
time frame since its last playoff appearance.
Detroit had a two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night with a 122-100
road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Brandon Jennings and Jonas Jerebko had 17 points apiece, with Jennings adding
seven helpers for the Pistons, who have lost three of five. Rodney Stuckey and
Greg Monroe contributed 15 points apiece and Andre Drummond added 11 points
and 14 rebounds in defeat.
"We weren't getting back on defense and they were making shots when we
weren't," Jennings said of his team's struggles. "I think at one point we
missed 11 straight shots in the first half. We definitely can't win like
Jennings told an accurate tale. The Pistons shot 35 percent from the field and
allowed the Cavs to blister the nets to the tune of 57 percent.
The Bulls have won two of three this season, but the Pistons won the only
matchup in Chicago. The Bulls are 25-4 in their last 29 and 14-1 in the last
15 in the Windy City against Detroit.
04/11 11:01:19 ET