Pistons at Bulls
The Detroit Pistons solved their recent road woes in emphatic fashion with a 114-80 drubbing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and will try to make it back-to-back road wins when they finish a three-game trip by visiting the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Pistons dropped five in a row on the road before blasting the Nets, including a 112-109 setback at New Orleans to begin the current trip.
The difference on Wednesday came on the defensive end, where Detroit limited Brooklyn to 36.5 percent from the floor, forced 20 turnovers and allowed just 26 points in the paint. "I thought our defense was outstanding tonight and everybody was involved," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. "We got everybody doing their job. I thought (centers) Andre (Drummond) and Eric (Moreland) on pick-and-roll defense put a lot of pressure on the guards and made it really tough. Our perimeters did a good job pulling in and taking the roll and for the most part getting back out to the shooters." The Bulls earned their own win in New York on Wednesday with a 122-119 double-overtime triumph over the New York Knicks. The victory was the second in the last seven games for Chicago, which is struggling at the defensive end while allowing an average of 120.9 points in those seven contests.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (22-18): Drummond collected 22 points and 20 rebounds in Wednesday's win, but it was his defense that stood out the most. "He's unbelievable when he's up," point guard Ish Smith told the team's website of Drummond. "He's probably got the best hands as a big man. (Backup center) Eric (Moreland) has great hands defensively. So, when those guys are up and they're playing it that way, it makes it so much easier for us and it makes it so much more difficult for the guards." Adding to Drummond on the offensive end is small forward Tobias Harris, who is averaging 24.7 points over the last three games while going 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE BULLS (15-27): Chicago is about to get another weapon on the offensive end on Saturday, with Zach LaVine slated to make his team and season debut after recovering from ACL surgery. "I've been in the gym late nights," LaVine told reporters. "I've played a lot of games with myself, thinking it's opening night. I've been playing with my teammates in practice almost every other day. I don't know how I'm going to go out, but I'm going to play the same way. I still have the same feel for the game. I still have explosion, the same athleticism, the same speed. ... I'm just going to go out and play the way I always have. I think it will be a good thing." LaVine will be joining an offense thriving behind rookie forward Lauri Markkanen, who scored a season-high 33 points in the win at New York while knocking down eight 3-pointers and adding 10 rebounds.
1. Bulls PF Nikola Mirotic (illness) sat out the last two games and is day-to-day.
2. Detroit PG Dwight Buycks is averaging 13.2 points in five games this month after totaling four points in the team's first 35 games.
3. The home team took each of the four meetings last season, with Chicago taking its two by an average of 26.5 points.