Bulls try to extend streak against Pistons

Bulls try to extend streak against Pistons
April 7, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Mark Strotman

The last time the Detroit Pistons beat the Chicago Bulls, Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace were starting, Larry Hughes was the Bulls leading scorer and Derrick Rose was in the midst of a Rookie of the Year campaign.

A lot has changed since that time--including 18 straight Bulls wins--and Tom Thibodeau's group will look to make it 19 when the two teams square off in Auburn Hills tonight on Comcast SportsNet Plus. Coverage begins with Bulls Pregame Live at 6 p.m.

The short-handed Bulls have been without Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli for over a week but are beginning to play solid basketball at the right time, winning three of four to pull within one game of the Brooklyn Nets for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Getting to that spot would guarantee home-court advantage in a first round playoff series, which would likely be against either Brooklyn or the Atlanta Hawks.

[MORE: Rose still won't rule out a return this season

For that to happen, they'll need to close out their 2013 schedule with some momentum. Five of their last seven games come against teams with a below-.500 record, beginning tonight in Detroit.

The Pistons enter April at 1-1 for the Month, already reaching their win total from March, when they went a dreadful 1-14.

As was the case earlier in the week against Orlando, the Pistons are out of playoff contention and want to see what they have for the future by playing young stars right away. That approach nearly won them the game a week ago in Chicago.

Rodney Stuckey went for 25 points, center Greg Monroe added 18 more and Andre Drummond produced eight points and 14 rebounds in his first game back after breaking his tailbone. Brandon Knight, nursing a sore ankle, scored just five points in 37 minutes. The Bulls were able to come back late thanks to the heroics of Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng late, and they'll likely have to rely on those two again tonight.

In eight games since his fellow All-Star Noah went out, Deng has averaged 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and made 1.9 3-pointers per game in more than 41 minutes. Butler has been just as good filling in for the usual starter Belinelli. In the seven games the Italian sharpshooter has missed with an abdominal strain, Butler is averaging 14.0 points 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals in more than 42 minutes per game. Thibodeau is going to run his horses to the finish line, and the end is in sight for a Bulls team fighting for a home playoff series.

See if they can avoid a letdown and take down a talented Detroit team tonight on Comcast SportsNet Plus. And stay up-to-date with everything happening on social media by checking out Bulls Pulse. Join the conversation with #BullsTalk, and keep it with CSN for Bulls Postgame Live after the game.