Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

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Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

On Sunday, the struggling Detroit Pistons will visit the postseason-bound Chicago Bulls in a late-season clash that features two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. 

The Bulls, though losers on Saturday against Dallas, are still fresh off of a momentum-shifting, streak-snapping win over the Miami Heat. They will be hungry to gain ground on Indiana, Brooklyn and Atlanta, as the fifth-place Hawks sit just a half-game above Chicago heading into Sunday. 

At the other end of the court, the Detroit Pistons are struggling mightily and are losers of nine of 10, so a win over a playoff team would certainly be at least something to build from going forward. 

This won't be a highlight-reel worthy tilt, as both teams sit in the league's bottom 20 percent in terms of offense, but either way, it's a pivotal game for the Bulls as the postseason stretch drive gets underway. 

Here's all the key information for Sunday's tilt in Chicago. 

 

When: Sunday, Mar. 31 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

Watch: FS-Detroit (DET), CSN-Chicago (CHI)

Live Stream: NBA League Pass

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

Pistons Injury Report (via USA Today)

F Charlie Villanueva—Questionable (illness) 

G Brandon Knight—Doubtful (ankle)

G Will Bynum—Out (hand)

F Corey Maggette—Out (illness) 

 

Bulls Injury Report (via USA Today)

G Marco Belinelli—Questionable (abdominal)

C Joakim Noah—Questionable (foot)

G Richard Hamilton—Out (back) 

G Derrick Rose—Out (knee)  

 

Pistons Player to Watch: C Greg Monroe 

Elsa/Getty Images

In spite of the Pistons' struggles this season, third-year center Greg Monroe is in the midst of a career-best season that has him putting up just under 16 points a game for Detroit. 

Without Knight and Villanueva on the floor, Monroe will have to be at his best to give the Pistons a shot at winning, but that's okay considering the former Georgetown Hoya has three double-doubles in his last four games. 

He's going to have to have one of his best games of the season to compensate for Knight's absence against a playoff team, but Monroe has been dominant as of late for Detroit, and if he has a big night, don't count the Pistons out. 

 

Bulls Player to Watch: SF Luol Deng

As of late, the Bulls have been staying afloat despite Rose's prolonged absence due to the play of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, who have each been dynamic forces offensively for the Bulls down the stretch. 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In particular, Deng has been particularly reliable for the Bulls recently, as the two-time All-Star put up 28 points to lead Chicago to the upset win over Miami this week, and on Saturday, the former Duke star threw down 25 points against Dallas in a losing effort. 

Deng has been picking up the slack without Rose on the floor all year, but with Noah potentially out for Sunday, Boozer will have to be a bigger presence on the defensive side of the ball, putting more offensive responsibility on Deng. 

Fortunately for the Bulls, Deng's been everything the Bulls could have hoped for and more this season. 

 

Prediction

The Pistons' role from here on out is to be a spoiler for postseason-bound teams like the Bulls, because beyond a lottery pick, Detroit has nothing to play for at this point. 

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

However, without Brandon Knight, Detroit will have a tough time matching up against a scrappy Bulls team that finds a way to win even without its undisputed best player in the lineup. 

Monroe will be good, but Deng, Boozer and Nate Robinson will all have big nights to help Chicago climb back into fifth place in the East. 

Chicago 87, Detroit 81

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