Preview: Bulls at Pistons

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[January 18, 2016]  The Chicago Bulls look like an Eastern Conference contender one week and a lottery team the next. The Bulls will try to pull out of their latest funk and go back to looking like a contender when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Chicago lost four of its last five games, with the lone win in that span coming when Jimmy Butler scored 53 points in an overtime triumph at the NBA-worst Philadelphia 76ers. Butler followed that up with four points in an 83-77 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, and the Bulls had center Joakim Noah go down with a separated shoulder in the setback. Chicago could have used Noah and any of the other weapons on the roster against the Pistons, who are flying high after knocking off the NBA-best Golden State Warriors on Saturday, 113-95. “Everybody is going to hype it like we did something crazy,” rookie forward Stanley Johnson told reporters. “We just played hard. Played hard, played smart, played together.”

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Detroit

ABOUT THE BULLS (23-16): Noah, who is averaging a career worst of 4.3 points and 38.3 percent shooting while coming off the bench in Fred Hoiberg’s first season as head coach, sat out nine straight games bridging December and January with an injury to the same left shoulder. The veteran, who will undergo surgery and is expected to miss four-to-six months, played a season-high 38 minutes at Philadelphia on Thursday but lasted only six minutes before getting tangled up with Dallas center JaVale McGee and dislocating the shoulder on Friday. “The details of the timing, location, and rehabilitation program have not yet been finalized,” the team said in a statement announcing the surgery. “Noah is expected to have a full recovery.”

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ABOUT THE PISTONS (22-18): Detroit has shown flashes of being the type of team that can compete with the likes of Golden State, Cleveland and Chicago on a regular basis, and the defensive effort on Saturday is something it hopes will carry over more consistently. “There’s no reason why we can’t do this every night,” Johnson told reporters. “We’re working towards this, to do this every night. We bring energy every night. It’s our job as professionals to do that, so now we’ve set the bar for ourselves.” Johnson delivered a steal and one of the Pistons’ 11 blocks on the night while hounding the Warriors on the perimeter.


1. Bulls G Kirk Hinrich (left quad contusion) left Friday’s game and is day-to-day.

2. Pistons G Brandon Jennings (jammed ankle) left Saturday’s game and is day-to-day.

3. Detroit earned a 147-144 win in quadruple overtime in the last meeting on Dec. 18 at Chicago.

PREDICTION: Pistons 102, Bulls 99

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