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Bulls, Pistons clash in Windy City
(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 progress."
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 that."
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 11:06:01 ET
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