NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 7th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (9-8) at Detroit Pistons (6-14), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls have won consecutive games just twice this season, yet still find themselves a game over .500.
Given their recent history with the Detroit Pistons, the Bulls should expect to log their third winning streak of the campaign as the two clubs do battle on Friday night.
The Bulls have been without star guard Derrick Rose all season long due to left knee surgery, but sit at 9-8 on the season a percentage points ahead of Indiana for first place.
Chicago won for the third time in four games on Wednesday, knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-85 thanks to a season-high output from Marco Belinelli.
Starting in place of an injured Richard Hamilton (left foot) for the second game in a row, Belinelli had 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He logged 10 points in the first quarter, one in which Chicago outscored Cleveland 27-11, after having just six total points in his previous start on Tuesday.
"Marco scored in different ways tonight," Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He drove, he got to the line, he was able to catch-and-shoot."
Luol Deng had 22 points and Chicago improved to 9-0 this season when both Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer record double-doubles. Noah had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Boozer netted 10 points with 12 boards.
The Bulls won their 10th in a row over the Cavaliers and own an even more impressive winning streak versus the Pistons. Chicago has swept the four-game series in three straight seasons, pushing its series winning streak to 15 straight games, its longest active against any one team.
That includes eight straight wins at Detroit for Chicago since its last loss in this series on Dec. 23, 2008 in Motown.
The Bulls, though, did need overtime to extend this winning streak in the last meeting on April 15 and it was a 3-pointer by Rose that forced the extra session in an eventual 100-94 win. Noah had 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey had a game-high 32 points for the Pistons.
Stuckey was one of four bench players that head coach Lawrence Frank went to in Wednesday's 104-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors as his starters struggled. Tayshaun Prince was the lone starter to reach double figures with a season-high 24 points, while the rest of the opening five combined for just 20 points.
Stuckey had 17 points off the bench and reserve rookie Andre Drummond had 15 with 12 rebounds in a career-high 31 minutes for the Pistons, who have lost three of their last four and had a five-game home winning streak snapped.
"Our rhythm, our energy wasn't where it needed to be, that's why we subbed guys out just a little bit earlier, just to try and find some combination of guys that could bring the kind of necessary energy and purpose into the game," said Frank.
Stuckey also had nine assists for Detroit, which fell to 6-6 since opening the season with eight straight losses.
12/07 10:43:18 ET