The Chicago Bulls come off a tough loss to the Knicks, a game they basically sleepwalked through and played poorly. They now get to unwrap their real Christmas gift, a game against the Detroit Pistons.
It's a road game on a back to back, so never take a game like that too lightly, but if the Bulls want to get back on track then you can't ask for much more than a game against Detroit who's one of the worst team's in the East.
On the other hand, the Bulls needed a furious comeback to beat them the first time around at the United Center where James Johnson stepped in to turn the game around. Let's hope they take care of business easier this time.
Keys to the game
Wake up and play Bulls basketball
The defense was porous, the team didn't ever get into the fast break (against the Knicks, you couldn't fast break against the Knicks?!), and the roleplayers largely went cold. The Bulls could have won that game against the Knicks with an even average effort relative to what they've done recently, but they just couldn't get it done.
Against Detroit, they need a dunk in the cold water tank need to simply play how we expect them to play and how we've loved to watch them play this season.
Dominate the crap out of their frontline
Really, they're frontcourt sucks. It made our old 2006-2008 frontcourts we hated look like a group of future hall of famers. They've got Charlie Villanueva as probably their best front court player, and if he sees Kurt Thomas in the paint he'll probably just turn and run. Jason Maxiell will rough it up, but he has no skills, Greg Monroe is a rookie who's hasn't gotten it going, Ben Wallace is completely washed up, and Chris Wilcox is a complete scrub.
Carlos Boozer should score 150 in this game easily (or more likely around 30 on high efficiency), and the Bulls should dominate the glass against this crew.
Force them into one on one basketball
It's what they all want to do anyway. Every player on the team is basically a guy who wants to score rather than pass. Tayshaun loves to try and post up guys, Rip just wants to curl off screens to get his shots, Stuckey and Gordon love to launch their own shots. Play some team ball, and you'll get guys isoing all night long rather than moving the ball around. That eventually will lead to terrible offense.
The Pistons have played decently at home. They're .500 there, and the Bulls are .500 on the road. Of course, the Bulls road losses come to the Celtics (x2), Knicks, Lakers, Nuggets, Spurs, and the Thunder, not exactly team's in the Detroit caliber of ability.
Still, the Bull have struggled without Noah. He provides a lot of their mojo and talent. The Bulls will need to remain focused and can't afford to take this game (or any game) lightly while he's out.