Hamilton, Watson doubtful vs. Pistons

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Hamilton, Watson doubtful vs. Pistons

By Chris CasonCSNChicago.com

To say the Bulls (7-2) have had the Detroit Pistons (2-6) number over the past three seasons would be an understatement.

The last defeat Chicago suffered at the hands of their Central Division foe came in Derrick Roses 28th game as a professional on Dec. 23 in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Rodney Stuckey scored a career-high 40 points for the Pistons as they beat the Bulls 104-98.

Since that time, the Bulls have won the last 12 meetings between the two teams, including 10 straight home games.

Coming into tonights matchup, all odds appear to be in Chicagos favor with having suffered an embarrassing loss against the Hawks on Saturday and their penchant for coming out even more focused than usual the following game. The Pistons are also on a three-game losing streak and is a team still searching for an identity with each of their six losses being by 11 points or more.

The Pistons will also be without Stuckey, whos recovering from a sore groin he injured in the Bulls 99-83 win at the Palace last Wednesday.

NOTES
C.J. Watson and Richard Hamilton are doubtful for tonights game. Watson is no longer wearing the sling for his left elbow which he injured in the Bulls home opener against Memphis and has started to do some conditioning and dribbling drills.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has said Watsons return to the rotation will depend on the reserve guards pain tolerance.

Hamilton is still recovering from a sore left groin which has caused him to miss four out of the last five games.

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Watch as the Bulls take on the Mavericks tonight on CSN+ and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. What's Jimmy Butler got in store? On paper, Butler's performance Sunday night against the Grizzlies was nothing special. In fact, in many ways it fell short of his season averages. But Jimmy G. Buckets was on his game in the fourth quarter when the Bulls needed him most, helping them to a crucial road victory in Memphis. Tonight a fast start will be key against a Mavericks team that struggles to play from behind.

2. Dirk Nowitzki is back. The Mavericks are finally getting back to full-strength, and the main contributor to that is Dirk Nowtizki. The future Hall-of-Famer is finally rounding into form after an Achilles injury kept him out of the lineup most of the year. In his last three games, Nowitzki is averaging 20.3 points on 49 percent shooting.

3. There was at least some rumblings that the Bulls might have considered going after Ames native Harrison Barnes this past offseason. Instead, Barnes wound up in Dallas a potential building block for the Mavs. And he's looked pretty solid through the season's first half. Barnes is averaging 20.7 points on 48 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and nearly a steal per game in 36 minutes. It'll be a fun matchup watching him go against Jimmy Butler.

4. More 3-pointers on the way? It's easy to say that a 31-point outing will get you going, but maybe Doug McDermott can build on his career night against the Grizzlies. He hit 3 of 6 triples, made 10 of 11 free throws and even added six rebounds and a(nother) block. The Bulls will be able to run more against the Mavs than they were the Grizzlies, meaning more spacing for McDermott to find open shots. If he's hitting early, the Bulls are in good shape.

5. A three-game winning streak on the line. The last time the Bulls won three straight -- earlier this month -- it pushed them over .500. Now they've got a chance to reel off a third straight and again get back over .500. As poorly as the Bulls have played as a whole, the Eastern Conference is wide open at the bottom half of the playoff bracket, so these are opportunities they don't want to miss against a struggling team.

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