(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls have won consecutive games just twice
this season, yet still find themselves a game over .500.
Given their recent history with the Detroit Pistons, the Bulls should expect
to log their third winning streak of the campaign as the two clubs do battle
on Friday night.
The Bulls have been without star guard Derrick Rose all season long due to
left knee surgery, but sit at 9-8 on the season a percentage points ahead of
Indiana for first place.
Chicago won for the third time in four games on Wednesday, knocking off the
Cleveland Cavaliers 95-85 thanks to a season-high output from Marco Belinelli.
Starting in place of an injured Richard Hamilton (left foot) for the second
game in a row, Belinelli had 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He logged 10
points in the first quarter, one in which Chicago outscored Cleveland 27-11,
after having just six total points in his previous start on Tuesday.
"Marco scored in different ways tonight," Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau
said. "He drove, he got to the line, he was able to catch-and-shoot."
Luol Deng had 22 points and Chicago improved to 9-0 this season when both
Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer record double-doubles. Noah had 13 points and 15
rebounds, while Boozer netted 10 points with 12 boards.
The Bulls won their 10th in a row over the Cavaliers and own an even more
impressive winning streak versus the Pistons. Chicago has swept the four-game
series in three straight seasons, pushing its series winning streak to 15
straight games, its longest active against any one team.
That includes eight straight wins at Detroit for Chicago since its last loss
in this series on Dec. 23, 2008 in Motown.
The Bulls, though, did need overtime to extend this winning streak in the last
meeting on April 15 and it was a 3-pointer by Rose that forced the extra
session in an eventual 100-94 win. Noah had 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey had a game-high 32 points for the Pistons.
Stuckey was one of four bench players that head coach Lawrence Frank went to
in Wednesday's 104-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors as his starters
struggled. Tayshaun Prince was the lone starter to reach double figures with a
season-high 24 points, while the rest of the opening five combined for just 20
Stuckey had 17 points off the bench and reserve rookie Andre Drummond had 15
with 12 rebounds in a career-high 31 minutes for the Pistons, who have lost
three of their last four and had a five-game home winning streak snapped.
"Our rhythm, our energy wasn't where it needed to be, that's why we subbed
guys out just a little bit earlier, just to try and find some combination of
guys that could bring the kind of necessary energy and purpose into the game,"
Stuckey also had nine assists for Detroit, which fell to 6-6 since opening the
season with eight straight losses.
The Sports Network