Do they have any chance of making this game competitive?
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan.
5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Bulls as a 4.5 point NBA betting odds favorite and the total for the game is 186.
Getting Used To Losing
That’s flat-out what it is; the Detroit Pistons are content with losing and that’s a problem. Unless I was a die-hard fan, I sure wouldn’t want to spend my money to see them play.
Now, they face a Chicago Bulls team that has something to play for. The Bulls are sandwiched in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but just 1.5 separates them from the Brooklyn Nets for the 4th spot and they have Atlanta trailing them by just 1.5 games. Bottom line is they have something to play for.
Neutralizing Boozer and Deng
Without Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, these are the go to guys and the one knock against them can be inconsistency at times. On a positive note, when one play’s poorly the other player usually shows up with a big performance.
This is a Bulls team that’s defense oriented, ranking 3rd in the NBA in points allowed, but they still have individual players that are very effective offensively.
Carlos Boozer is about the equivalent to Greg Monroe on the Pistons. Boozer makes up for Luol Deng’s “softness’ with physical play in the middle. The undersized but massive Boozer is averaging 18.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in his last 10 games. Detroit’s number one goal will be to stop this bruiser.
Detroit’s number 2 goal will be stop Luol Deng. Deng is coming off of a decent 19 point effort in a 1 point victory over Orlando, but he shot the ball quite poorly. If Detroit can manage to get a hand in Deng’s face, they can neutralize him because he doesn’t want any part of banging around inside with Greg Monroe.
Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson will also be two other concerns of Detroit. Robinson can light it up off of the bench; he’s a very streaky shooter that’s capable of putting up 30 points on Detroit while Butler has become a nice complimentary player for the Bulls that can give them 40 plus minutes per game.
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Finding His Game
Brandon Knight has been in a terrible slump for the last month. In his last 10 games, he’s averaging 9 points per game on 36.5% shooting. Detroit won’t win if Knight continues to play like this.
In his last game, he regained the touch, coming up with 25 points and 6 assists on 9 of 15 from the field.
Detroit needs Knight to provide his usual 15 points per game and to come up with an occasional gem. Jose Calderon is a great set up man and guys like Monroe and Knight need to “use him up”.
Stuckey is a real enigma. He was once the Pistons leading scorer in the past few years , but has dropped off the map being relegated to bench duty.
Now, Stuckey is on a roll again. In his last 4 games, he’s averaging 21.3 points per game. This is a player that can really help Detroit. Coach Lawrence Frank should really think about implementing Stuckey back into the starting lineup. When a player doesn’t belong on the bench, they lose their momentum and motivation. Look for Stuckey to continue the fine play, but will it be enough?
When a team has won 18 straight games against another team, this is starting to become psychological. Detroit has a few weapons, but until they produce some wins at home, you have to fade them. Lay the points with Chicago for this NBA pick.
Pick- Chicago -4.5 at 5 Dimes