It feels long ago that the Pistons were riding a five-game winning streak and celebrating the acquisition of Blake Griffin. Let us reminisce of how fun that brief window in time was…
Okay, back to reality. The Chicago Bulls come to Little Ceasar’s Arena tonight to face the struggling Detroit Pistons. Detroit is favored, at the time of this writing, by 7.5 points. That may not seem like much considering how bad the Bulls are and the fact that they are definitely not trying to tank.
Nope, no tanking here. And if you think Chicago is trying to tank, you are wrong! The NBA issued a warning to the Bulls saying that they must play their healthy players, in this instance center Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday.
The Pistons are definitely not tanking, they are simply not very good. The team has lost four in a row and ten of their last twelve games. Detroit showed some fight in their last game against the visiting Toronto Raptors and actually lead by 14 at halftime, but eventually lost in overtime.
If Detroit wants any chance at making the playoffs, tonight is a must-win game. They sit five games out of the eighth-seed behind the Milwaukee Bucks. They hold the tiebreaker over the Bucks too, which is a positive. On the flip side, they are in the midst of a brutal schedule and are about to embark on a six-game west-coast road trip. The next three games after facing Chicago are at Utah, at Denver, and at Portland. That will be tough.
For tonight, however, the Pistons are in good position to get a much-needed win. Between Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, those two alone should create a big mismatch in the paint. They key for the Pistons will be on the wings where they are spread thin with depth, especially if Stanley Johnson is out again.
Chicago has some talent too, with the potential to be dangerous spoilers down the stretch. Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn are young and seemingly hungry. Lopez and Holiday, who was 5-5 from the floor last game against the Grizzlies, are going to be active too. Had the Bulls been able to “rest” Lopez, the Pistons paint advantage would have been even greater. Chicago would have gotten away with it too had not been for the rotten NBA.
As mentioned before, this is a must-win game for Detroit. A rough road trip coming up, where three wins would be an accomplishment, makes tonight a pivotal contest. There are plenty of reasons to be weary of the Pistons right now, but Chicago is too bad of a team right now. The Pistons will win this one, potentially handily.
(Featured Image by David Banks/AP)