NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 9th (All times eastern)
Chicago Bulls (25-37) at Detroit Pistons (45-17), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While the Chicago Bulls have endured a disappointing 2007-08 season, they've had great success when facing the Detroit Pistons so far.
Chicago will shoot for a season sweep of the powerful Pistons when the Central Division rivals meet for the fourth and final time of this campaign tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Although Detroit owns a commanding 9 1/2-game advantage atop the Central at the moment and the Bulls are currently on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Chicago has been the dominant team in the series this year. The Pistons have lost all three 2007-08 matchups with the Bulls and are 1-6 in their last seven regular-season encounters against tonight's opponent.
Chicago has not swept the Pistons in a season since 1995-96, the year the Bulls won a league-record 72 games and the NBA championship.
Detroit did defeat Chicago in six games during the second round of last year's Eastern Conference playoffs, however.
The Bulls haven't been nearly as good against the rest of the league, as the club brings a lackluster 25-37 overall record into today's play and trails Atlanta by one game for the eighth and final postseason spot in the East.
Detroit can lock up a playoff berth with a victory tonight and return home off a hard-fought 101-97 triumph at New York on Friday behind a superlative effort from Tayshaun Prince. The sixth-year forward poured in 28 points and sealed the Pistons' win with a clutch basket with 9.9 seconds left to play.
Prince's performance helped offset the absence of leading scorer Richard Hamilton, who was ejected late in the first half after picking up a pair of technical fouls. Detroit was also without Rasheed Wallace, as the standout forward sat out the contest with a sprained left ankle and is unlikely to dress tonight.
The Pistons have now won three of their last four games and are 16-4 since January 23. Detroit has also been characteristically tough at home this season, having recorded a 23-5 mark at the Palace thus far.
However, Chicago has emerged victorious in each of its two regular-season trips to the Motor City, including a 98-91 win in Detroit on December 7.
The Bulls had won two in a row prior to a run-in with Eastern Conference front-runner Boston on Friday. The Celtics jumped out to a 12-point first- quarter lead and cruised to a 116-93 victory over Chicago at TD Banknorth Garden.
Ben Gordon topped Chicago with 20 points and Larry Hughes added 16 for the Bulls, who fell to 11-22 on the road.
03/09 10:51:59 ET