The Chicago Bulls (41-11) host the Detroit Pistons (18-32) on Friday night.
The Detroit Pistons played like one of the worst teams in the first half of the 2011-12 NBA season, and they have lost 13 straight games to the Chicago Bulls, but it would be a mistake to overlook the fact that Detroit is playing better basketball lately. Since Feb. 3, the Pistons have gone 13-12 in the last 26 games. One player who is having a bit of a rennaissance is former Bull Ben Gordon, who has posted season-highs in field goal percentage (45.1) and true shooting percentage (55.9) during the month of March.
Perhaps the most improved player is Rodney Stuckey, who may have taken the next step in his progression, according to SB Nation's Pistons blog, Detroit Bad Boys:
Has Rodney Stuckey finally turned the corner? Has he matured? Has he improved his decision-making?
I say that answer is yes.
At least that is what my eyes are telling me. He looks more confident. He is playing quicker but also slower, making better decisions, not rushing shots, letting the game come to him and all sorts of other cliches.
So what do the stats say? At 16.1 points per game he has nearly matched his career high of 16.6 in 2009-10 despite taking four fewer shots per game. And even though he got off to a slow start he has set career highs in PER, true shooting percentage and win shares per 48 minutes. He also annihilated his career best in 3-point percentage.
As for the Bulls, they have been playing well enough without injured start Derrick Rose to still outpace the improved Pistons. Rose is once against not expected to play due to a lingering groin injury, so it will be up to Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, C.J. Watson and John Lucas III to carry the scoring load.
Game date/time: 7:00 p.m. CT, March 30, 2012
Location: United Center, Chicago, Ill.
For more on this game, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Chicago Bulls, head over to Blog a Bull. Detroit Pistons coverage is available at Detroit Bad Boys. Stick with SB Nation's NBA news hub for notes and analysis from around the league.