Pistons square off against the Bulls on MLK Day


The Detroit Pistons will look to improve to 3-0 against the Chicago Bulls

The Pistons look to move to 3-0 against the Bulls on the season. Preferably, without overtimes being necessary.

Detroit and Chicago have totaled five extra periods this season in just two meetings thus far. The most recent being the marathon of the two, with the Pistons winning in Chicago 147-144 in four overtime periods.

The Bulls received difficult news this past weekend when they found out that Joacim Noah is likely lost for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. While Noah was not putting up his usual numbers offensively, he continues to be the core of their post defense.

The Pistons have played the Bulls tough for the last season and a half. And I think this game will fall right in line with the dog fights fans have become accustomed to seeing. The Pistons have decisively won the rebound battle in this matchup, which has given them more attempts, despite low shooting percentages. They will need a similar effort on the boards this afternoon to win.

Key Questions to Consider:

Does Adam Silver get a good look at the atrocity that is Hack-A-Drummond today and institute change? The NBA Commissioner has been outspoken about being in attendance for today’s game the Palace. Do the Bulls hack Drummond enough to make the Commissioner recognize its ill-effects on the league’s product and immediately incorporate rule changes to remove that strategy from the game? Yea. . . probably not. But Piston fans can dream, right?

How do the Pistons respond after the Golden State win? The Palace was packed on Friday night to see the Pistons beat the Warriors, and the team showed up with the best game they have played this season. Can they continue to play well, or will we see another iteration of the roller coaster that is this team?

Who wins the Drummond-Gasol matchup? It’s pretty clear at this point that Pau Gasol has no ability, nor interest, to stop Andre Drummond physically in the paint. But it is also true that Drummond has significantly struggled to get out to Gasol when the Bulls center pulls up for a 18-foot jumper. Who leverages their advantage to the greater degree? I believe that answer will go a long way to decide today’s winner.

Can the Pistons rein in Jimmy Butler? Jimmy Butler has been a mad-man this season, removing any doubt as to who is the Bulls definitive leader. His offensive game has expanded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, as he was the last pick in the first round of the 2011 draft. Can KCP and crew slow down the Bulls shooting guard?

My Prediction:

On one hand, it is incredibly difficult to beat a quality team like the Bulls so many times in one season. On the other, the Pistons are favored to win this game for a reason. They have been a very good team at home this season, and have twice already beaten the Bulls. I think the Pistons pull out another close one today sans extra periods.

102-98 Pistons