Matinee Clash: Noah-Less Bulls Make Pistons & 'Over' Our NBA Pick

Matthew Jordan

Monday, January 18, 2016 5:09 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 5:09 PM UTC

Joakim Noah has been the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls franchise since he was drafted out of the University of Florida. The Bulls begin life without Noah on Monday afternoon in Detroit. 

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NBA Picks: Pistons -3 & Over 202
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Bulls vs. Pistons Preview
Noah is lost for the season after dislocating his shoulder in Friday's loss to Dallas after getting tangled up with Mavericks center JaVale McGee. Noah will have surgery and expected out 4-6 months, so maybe it's possible he could return if the Bulls win a playoff series or two but it's not likely. And it's expected that Noah's Bulls career is over as he really doesn't fit in new Coach Fred Hoiberg's rotation. Noah was coming off the bench and playing just 21.9 minutes a night, shooting an ugly .383 from the field and averaging 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds. It's his worst season in the NBA. Still, he's a good defender and rebounder and easily the emotional center of this team. It's a loss that is more than numbers. The Bulls also were hoping to perhaps trade Noah this season for wing help; Noah will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and Chicago wasn't expected to bring him back. This injury could cost Noah many millions of dollars, although with the salary cap skyrocketing some team might throw a big contract at him this summer.

The son of former tennis star Yannik Noah was drafted as the No. 9 overall pick out of Florida as a two-time national champion in 2007. It's fair to say he has overachieved in his Bulls career. He best season easily was in 2013-14 when he was the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-NBA player, finishing fourth in the MVP voting. Noah averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists that year.

Look for rookie Bobby Portis to get a lot more playing time now. Taj Gibson's minutes will rise. Pau Gasol also probably will have to play more. That could be a problem because Gasol is playing through a sprained and sore Achilles' tendon. Gasol is having another fine season but is 35 years old. The Bulls remain without small forward Mike Dunleavy, who has yet to play this season due to back troubles and is weeks away. Backup guard Kirk Hinrich won't play Monday with a quad injury.

Chicago has lost four of five after a season-high six-game winning streak. The Bulls are 15-24 against the spread this season on NBA odds and 19-19-1 'over/under.'


Pistons Off Their Best Win
Detroit ended a two-game losing streak Saturday with an impressive home 113-95 home win over Golden State, only the Warriors' fourth loss this season. It was a rare sellout at the Palace of Auburn Hills as Detroit retired the No. 3 jersey of former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace at halftime. The Pistons were up 11 through three quarters and started the fourth on a 16-2 run to blow it open. Andre Drummond, the NBA double-double leader by far with 34, had another with 14 points and 21 rebounds. He's the best center in the NBA right now, hands down.

There was some bad news from that game for Detroit as guard Brandon Jennings left with a jammed left ankle. An MRI revealed no structural damage but Jennings missed practice on Sunday and he's likely to be a game-time call Monday. Jennings started the season late off an Achilles' tear that cut last season short. He's averaging 6.9  points and 3.4 assists in nine games. Pistons backup center Aron Baynes should be available vs. the Bulls after taking a knee to the thigh in Saturday's win over the Warriors.

The magic number for Detroit this season appears to be 100 points as the Pistons are 16-3 when scoring at least that many. They are only 2-10 this year when being outrebounded. Drummond leads the NBA in boards at 15.5 per game. The Pistons are 22-17-1 ATS on NBA picks and 20-20 O/U.


Season Series
Detroit leads 2-0. It won 98-94 in overtime at home on Oct. 30 behind 26 points from Marcus Morris and 20 points and 20 rebounds from Drummond. The Pistons scored the first seven points of overtime. Derrick Rose had just eight points, none through three quarters. Jimmy Butler had 23. On Dec. 18, these teams played perhaps the most entertaining game of the year and easily the longest.  The Pistons won 147-144 in four overtimes in Chicago. Drummond had 33 points and 21 rebounds, while Reggie Jackson had 31 points and 13 assists. The Pistons scored the first seven points of the fourth OT.  Butler had 43 points but missed a 3 as time expired in the final OT. Rose had 34 points but it took him 34 shots. Gasol had 30 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. It was only the 13th game in NBA history to go at least four OTs. Even with those two victories, the Pistons have still won just four of the past 12 meetings. Chicago has lost three straight in Detroit, however.


Final Analysis
Tough call here. Bulls players might be flat after learning the popular Noah is done. But so might the Pistons be off the huge win over Golden State. I'll give the points here and go 'over' the total. Detroit has covered five straight meetings. The 'over' is 10-4 in the Pistons' past 14 at home. The 'over' is 5-0 in Chicago's past five on the road. 

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