The Bulls enter Wednesday's action as the league's lowest scoring offense, averaging just 93.1 points per game, and on the heels of an 80-point outing in a loss to the Nets on Monday. On the other side, the Detroit Pistons are allowing more than 103 points per game, fifth most in the NBA. Something's got to give between these two teams as they square off tonight on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, hosted by Mark Schanowski and Will Perdue.
On the surface it appeared that the Detroit Pistons were going to get better defensively this offseason. Center Andre Drummond had demolished the competition in Summer League play and looked poised to be among the league leaders in rebounds and blocks; they signed Josh Smith to a four-year deal, giving them a small forward who had averaged 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal per game during his career; Brandon Jennings came over in a sign-and-trade deal to give them a pesky point guard who had ranked in the top-20 in steals each of the past two seasons.
Adding in Greg Monroe, a power forward with good size, and role players such as Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Pistons were ready to improve on their No. 18 finish in total defense from 2012-13.
But that hasn't been the case. Individual prowess hasn't meant better team defense for this Pistons group that ranks 22nd in efficiency, 26th in points per game allowed and 29th in field goal percentage defense. It's been a nightmare of a season for the Pistons, who are currently ninth in the lowly Eastern Conference and a full three games behind the eighth-seeded Atlanta.
So they'll be looking for wins, and picking up one at home against a playoff team in the Bulls would go a long way.
And though the Bulls rank last in the NBA in points per game and are 28th in offensive efficiency, they've been better of late. Before turning the ball over 28 times in a 96-80 loss in Brooklyn, Tom Thibodeau's group had scored 100 points or more in four straight games and against the Knicks set a franchise record with three turnovers. Running the offense through Joakim Noah, the resurgence of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson's continued career-best year has them back on track, winners of nine of their last 11 games.
They'll certainly have a chance to get back on track against a weak Detroit defense, or the Pistons will lock down against, statistically, the worst scoring offense.
See who gets the best of who tonight on Comcast SportsNet. And stick with us after the game for Bulls Postgame Live, where Mark and Will analyze the game, show highlights and get reaction from Tom Thibodeau and the players in the locker room.