The Chicago Bulls have yet to win three straight games overall, but based on their recent history at Detroit, should have a good chance to record a season-high third consecutive road victory.
Looking to continue their overall dominance over the Pistons, the Bulls try for an eighth straight win at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night.
With star Derrick Rose still recovering from a torn ACL, Chicago (9-8) has struggled to consistently string wins together. The Bulls have won four of six but failed to record their first three-game winning streak with Tuesday's 80-76 home loss to Indiana.
Chicago bounced back Wednesday as Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points in place of the injured Richard Hamilton, and Luol Deng added 22 in a 95-85 win at Cleveland. Joakim Noah had 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Bulls won their second straight on the road to improve to 4-3 away from the United Center.
Though the Bulls know they'll need to grind out victories minus Rose and Hamilton (foot) - for at least a week - they've seen progress.
"It takes time, but we're getting there,' said Deng, who is averaging 21.5 points on 50.8 percent shooting in the last four games. "We've got a lot of guys who are new to the system.'
One of whom is Belinelli, who averaged 5.1 points prior to Wednesday's effort but has a chance to thrive in Hamilton's absence.
"Marco scored in different ways (Wednesday),' coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He drove, he got to the line, he was able to catch-and-shoot. Each day, he's playing better.'
It would appear the Bulls have a good chance to better themselves Friday against the Pistons (6-14), who've lost 15 straight to Chicago since a 104-98 home win Dec. 23, 2008. This is the Bulls' longest active winning streak against any opponent and the most extensive current slide to one team for the Pistons.
Though Chicago has dominated this series of late, it needed overtime to extend its road winning streak over the Pistons to seven with a 100-94 victory April 15. Noah had 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Detroit has averaged 91.9 points during its home skid versus Chicago. The Bulls have yielded an average of 85.0 and allowed opponents to shoot 40.1 percent over their last six overall. Those trends don't bode well for the Pistons, who have averaged 85.3 points and shot 40.3 percent while losing three of four.
However, it was the Pistons' lack of defense that proved costly Wednesday when their five-game home winning streak ended with a 104-97 loss to Golden State. Detroit gave up 39 points in the third quarter and its starting backcourt of Brandon Knight and rookie Kyle Singler was outscored 49-7 by Warriors guards Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
"We knew that Golden State had great shooters on their team, so if you leave them open for a split second, they are going to knock the shot down,' said Pistons rookie Andre Drummond, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds. "We let some things slip away and played out of character. Moving forward, we have to nip some of that in bud.'
Detroit's Tayshaun Prince had a season-high 24 points but has totaled 11 on 5-of-19 shooting in the last two home games versus Chicago.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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