LIVE: Bulls take momentum to Motown on CSN

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LIVE: Bulls take momentum to Motown on CSN

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 10:22 a.m.

Associated Press

Michael Jordan once tormented the Detroit Pistons. Derrick Rose is filling that role these days for the Chicago Bulls.

Rose looks to lead the Bulls to an 11th straight victory over the Pistons when the Central Division rivals meet Friday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Chicago (54-20) is enjoying its longest run in the series since Jordan helped the Bulls win 19 in a row from April 12, 1993-March 22, 1997.

Rose's first game against Detroit (26-48) was a 104-98 loss Dec. 23, 2008, in which he scored 10 points. He's played in nine games during this win streak, averaging 24.7 points and 52.9 percent shooting along with 6.9 assists per game.

The third-year guard is a leading MVP candidate, but he's more concerned with helping Chicago gain the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls, winners of 13 of 15, defeated Minnesota 108-91 on Wednesday.

Chicago bounced back from a 97-85 home loss to Philadelphia on Monday.

"I think we're getting better, almost every game," Rose said. "Last game of course we didn't do it, but tonight we came out and played aggressive, played with an edge."

Joakim Noah sat out Wednesday with a sprained right ankle and will be a game-time decision. He has missed two of Chicago's first three meetings with Detroit.

Noah's absence may not be a problem as fellow big man Carlos Boozer has averaged 29.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in two games against the Pistons this season. Boozer recorded his second double-double in three games with 24 points and 14 boards Wednesday.

Chicago's unselfish, team-oriented play continues to draw raves around the league. The Bulls have recorded at least 30 assists three times in their last six games, with 31 against the Timberwolves.

"That's a team right there," Minnesota guard Wayne Ellington said. "Them guys play together, man. All the way around. They play together, communicate. They do it the right way."

Teamwork and chemistry have been season-long problems for Detroit, which is two defeats shy of its first back-to-back 50-loss seasons since 1993-94 and 1994-95.

The Pistons suffered their fourth loss in five games and ninth straight on the road Wednesday, 111-101 to Indiana. Detroit beat the Pacers 100-88 four days earlier at home.

"We're trying different things right now, trying to get something going so we can win that road game," coach John Kuester said. "But I'll tell you, our energy is so much better at home, compared to on the road."

Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to lead Detroit with 24 points. Tracy McGrady, however, had two points in 11 minutes in his return to the lineup after missing a game with a sore back.

Pistons reserve guard Ben Gordon is 0-7 against his former team, averaging 10.7 points and 37.5 percent shooting. Gordon has gone scoreless in two of his last four games and is averaging a career-worst 11.8 points on the season.

Center Ben Wallace is day to day after missing the last four contests with a sore left knee.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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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