(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls will look for their fifth win in the last
six games Wednesday night when they welcome their Central Division rival, the
Detroit Pistons, to the Windy City.
Although, calling this a rivalry lately may seem unfair. The Bulls have won 16
in a row against the Pistons, whose last victory in this series came at home
on Dec. 23, 2008.
The Bulls are 8-3 in the month of January and the news gets only better for
Chicago. Derrick Rose is closer to being a full participant in practices, so
at the mid-point, with maybe two, maybe three Eastern All-Star berths heading
to Chicago, the Bulls are in great shape.
Just don't tell their coach that.
"The road for us is not going to get easier," said Tom Thibodeau. "I don't
want our guys to exhale and start feeling good. This is going to be a tough
road. We have to keep battling and concentrate on the improvement."
The Bulls will play three of their next four at home, then embark on a six-
game road trip before the All-Star break.
On Monday, the Bulls handled the Los Angeles Lakers, 95-83. Kirk Hinrich led
the way for Chicago with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Five
other Bulls players scored in double figures.
The Bulls did it, as they almost always do, with defense. Chicago ranks third
in the NBA in opponents' scoring and second in opponents' field-goal
percentage. The Bulls held the Lakers 20 points under their season average,
while forcing 16 turnovers and holding L.A. under 40 percent from the field
and below 18 percent from long range.
The Pistons will be going for three wins in a row, as they are undefeated
since returning from a London loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Detroit toppled the Boston Celtics, 103-88, at home on Sunday, then bested the
Orlando Magic, also in The Palace at Auburn Hills, 105-90, Tuesday night.
Six Pistons scored in double figures against the Magic, led by Brandon
Knight's 18. Jason Maxiell and Andre Drummond both registered double-doubles.
The Pistons have done it with defense the last two outings. They kept the
Magic to 45 percent shooting and held leading scorer Arron Afflalo scoreless
in almost 38 minutes.
"The defensive intensity was good, and we have to play that way for 48
minutes," said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. "It's a dangerous way any other
Detroit will remain on the road following Wednesday night's contest. The
Pistons will make their trek through Florida with a Friday night game against
the Miami Heat and a rematch with the Magic on Sunday.
The Sports Network