Pistons at Bulls Game Preview - Jan. 9, 2012
The Chicago Bulls had their season-best six-game winning steak end thanks in part to a poor defensive effort during their last game.
A visit from the offensively-challenged Detroit Pistons could help them get back on track.
Looking to stay unbeaten at home, the Bulls try for a 13th consecutive victory over a Pistons team hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat Monday night.
Chicago (7-2), which ranks among the stingiest teams in the NBA with an average of just 88.7 points surrendered, gave up its highest scoring output of the season during Saturday's 109-94 loss at Atlanta. The Bulls allowed the Hawks to score 27 fast break points and shoot 56.6 percent from the field - the highest mark by an opponent in almost a year.
"In this league, you usually get what you deserve," coach Tom Thibodeau told the team's official website.
"For us our defense is so important because it gets us in the open floor. This is the NBA. You've got to come every night. You've got to bring great intensity and if you let down just a little bit this is what happens."
Chicago has to like its chances of regrouping against the Pistons (2-6), who are scoring a league-low 84.3 points per game. Detroit has averaged 78.7 points during a three-game skid that started with Wednesday's 99-83 loss to the Bulls.
Chicago has dominated the Pistons of late, outscoring them by an average of 10.1 points during its 12-game run in the series.
Detroit's lack of offensive prowess was on display during Saturday's 103-80 loss to New York. Playing without guard Rodney Stuckey (groin) and forwards Austin Daye (right ankle) and Charlie Villanueva (left ankle), the Pistons shot 37.2 percent from the floor and committed a season-high 21 turnovers.
"This is going to be a series of one step forward, two steps back – or two steps forward, one step back," coach Lawrence Frank told the team's official website. "This is not representative of who we want to be. We all have to own it, starting with me. This is going to be a long season and we have to figure out all the things that are going to be a part of the solution."
Guard Ben Gordon, whose average of 15.6 points is tied with center Greg Monroe for the team lead, was held to 12 and committed a career-worst nine turnovers. Forward Jonas Jerebko had a season-low four points on 1-of-6 shooting.
"It's very disappointing," Jerebko said. "We know we can play so much better than this. We've just got to get back to it and go play Chicago."
Gordon, who spent the first five years of his career with the Bulls, is averaging just 6.0 points on 30.0 percent shooting over his four most recent meetings against his former team.
Guard Brandon Knight has provided a spark while making back-to-back starts in place of the injured Stuckey. The eighth overall pick in June's draft had a team-high 19 points Saturday and is averaging 15.5 points when playing at least 25 minutes.
It's unknown if Stuckey, Villanueva or Daye will be available Monday.
Former longtime Piston Richard Hamilton was held out for the fourth time in five games Saturday with a sore groin and is also questionable. He scored 14 points against Detroit last week.
Reigning league MVP Derrick Rose had just eight points versus Atlanta, snapping his 66-game run of scoring in double figures. He is, however, averaging 34.0 points in his last two home games versus Detroit.
The Bulls, 2-0 at the United Center, haven't lost to the Pistons at home since a 95-87 defeat Feb. 24, 2006.