Despite owning the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons have had no success when facing the Chicago Bulls.
The Pistons look to bounce back from another tough loss and avoid dropping their fifth straight game to the last-place Bulls when the Central Division rivals meet Saturday night at the United Center.
Detroit (29-11) and Chicago (15-23) both expected to contend for East supremacy before this season began, but only the Pistons have managed to do so. Detroit has a 7 1/2-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the Central, and is four games back of Boston for the best record in the league.
The Bulls, meanwhile, have the fifth-worst record in the conference, and are in last place in the Central, 13 games behind the Pistons.
"The season's not going well and everything looks bad right now,'' said Chicago forward Andres Nocioni after Friday's 119-111 loss to Golden State.
One of the few bright spots for the Bulls this season has been their ability to frustrate Detroit, which eliminated Chicago from last season's conference semifinals in six games.
The Pistons have lost their first two meetings of the season against the Bulls, and have dropped five of six to them overall in regular-season play. Detroit has also lost three straight games in Chicago after winning its previous 12 visits there.
The Bulls are just 7-11 at the United Center this season, however, after going an conference-best 31-10 at home last season.
Detroit lost 100-93 to Sacramento on Friday, when it was outscored 24-16 in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't move the ball,'' said Pistons coach Flip Saunders, whose club has dropped two of three and four of seven since a season-high 11-game winning streak. "When things go bad we start to hold the ball and lock it up on one side.''
Richard Hamilton had 24 points Friday after scoring a season-high 39 in Tuesday's 103-89 win over Toronto. Hamilton has scored 42 total points in the two games against the Bulls this season.
Chauncey Billups had 28 points and 10 assists against the Kings, and has scored 41 points against Chicago in 2007-08.
The Bulls have lost three of four overall, and were outscored 62-42 over the final 19 minutes of Friday's loss.
Ben Gordon led Chicago with 29 points, while Nocioni added 28 on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
Gordon has scored 53 points in his last two games after totaling just 12 in his previous two. He has scored 27 total points in the two games against Detroit this season.
Nocioni is averaging 20.2 points over his last five games, while shooting 16-for-28 from beyond the 3-point arc. He has 32 points in this season's two wins over the Pistons.
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