As always, CSN+ is channel 666 or you directv users. The Bulls go on to face the Detroit Pistons tonight, in a game which doesn’t project to be all that difficult. The Pistons are generally undersized, have the worst front court in the league, and don’t really have an advantage at any position on the court outside of SG.
Keys to the game
Don’t blow it
Look, the Pistons are one of the worst defenses in the NBA. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer should have little trouble getting their offense going. The team should move the ball well and generate tons of easy shots at the basket.
The Pistons have no front court, nor balance, and rely almost entirely on Rodney Stuckey or Ben Gordon to have a huge night in order to win. The Bulls should have little trouble containing their offense as they defend particularly well against isolation plays.
Let’s see what happens in the rest of the seeding chases
Miami plays at Minnesota
I know that the Heat recently lost to the Cavs, but that was kind of a special case where the whole world was rooting for them to lose. That’s not going down tonight, so the Heat will remain 3 games back of us after the night is over. Heading into the night, the Bulls have a magic number of five against the Heat.
Boston plays at Atlanta
The Celtics picked up a much needed win against the Spurs yesterday which helps the Bulls, but we’ll get to that in the Spurs section. Boston remains two games back from Chicago in the loss column, but they do own the tiebreaker against us, so it’s equivalent to a one game cushion.
This could be a tough game for Boston coming on a back to back with a time change where Atlanta is desperate and needs the win as well. I would not be surprised if the Celtics lost, but who knows, maybe they’ll pick up some momentum by beating the Spurs even if the win is somewhat hollow without Duncan playing.
The Bulls magic number vs Boston is eight.
Lakers plays at Utah
The Lakers are presently tied in the loss column with Chicago, but the Bulls own the tiebreaker against them for home court. The Lakers should roll the Jazz though, and while the Lakers play some tough teams down the stretch, they play them all at the Staples Center. L.A. could win out, or lose only one more on the season.
The bulls magic number against the Lakers is nine.
San Antonio at Houston
The Spurs are ice cold without Duncan which should throw some cold water on anyone thinking that he isn’t the most important player on their team just because his stats are down. The Spurs are sliding, and due to their loss against Boston, they would now likely finish tied with Chicago in the tiebreaker if they met in the finals and finished with identical records.
Without Duncan, it would not surprise me if the Bulls were able to catch San Antonio, but without Duncan, the Spurs have no shot in hell of meeting anyone in the finals either, so we’ll see what happens.
The Bulls magic number against San Antonio is likely 11 with a coin flip determining the winner if they end up tied.
Nine games left. The Spurs and Celtics have good chances to lose tonight while Chicago, Miami, and the Lakers should be overwhelming favorites. The bulls magic number for the East (the really only important one), could fall as low as six if Boston loses.
Boston, with eight games to go, has a magic number of 7 to stay ahead of the Heat which could prove crucial to them as well.