Detroit Sports

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Pistons Look For Better Transition Against The Bulls

The Chicago Bulls invade the Palace tonight to take on the Detroit Pistons. Chicago enters the game 8-15, sporting a pretty decent core group of players. Among them are Eddie Curry and Kirk Hinrich, both of which are averaging 15 points per game.

There was a point where I considered the Bulls the second worst team in the NBA. Lately, though, I’ve had a slight change in heart. The Bulls have been playing well, and have won six of their last 10. Their rebounding has gotten better behind Tyson Chandler, and they are holding teams to only 94 points per game.

One not-so-positive note on the Bulls is their 2-8 road record. Detroit could be in a good position to get another win, and calm Larry Brown down. Brown has been unhappy with his team’s transition play and lack of scoring as of lately. "Our transition defense would improve more if our offensive execution were better.”

One of the keys to playing good transition basketball is going to have to rest on the shoulders of Chauncey Billups. As the point guard, it is his job to command the offense. His perimeter shooting has been sub-par this season, and correcting some of the bad shots, and maybe moving the ball a little better, can help fix this.

Billups isn’t the only Piston with shooting woes. The Bench has been struggling to come in and generate points. With the departure of Rick James and Corliss Williamson, the Pistons seem to have lost some bench support. Antonio McDyess has started stepping up his role lately, but has battled injuries. McDyess should see an increasing role in the offense, often joining the Wallaces on the court.

The Pistons have looked like champions at times, and like a mediocre team at other times. They’ve walked into Dallas and handed them one of their worst defeats of the season, then came home and lost by 16 to the Hawks.

All is not lost in Detroit quite yet.

McDyess looks to be healthy the rest of the way, and the bench is starting to take form. Carlos Delfino is back on the injured list for a while, and that will give Ronald Dupree time to work his way into the rotation. Once the bench situation stabilizes, they should become more productive.

There are three keys to tonight’s game. They must play a solid transition game. Defense must be solid, but not so much that it takes away from the energy on the other side of the court. The bench must come out and establish their place on the scoreboard early. There is no room for missed opportunities anymore.

Beating the Bulls is no longer automatic. The days of the Bulls coming to Detroit and losing by 45 are over. If the Pistons want to win, they are going to have to execute their game plan, and not get caught in scoring ruts.

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