PISTONS AT BULLS, 8 P.M. ET

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  • At the end of his pregame TV interview for local fans back in Detroit Wednesday, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was reminded by the show reporter that his team had lost 16 straight games to the Bulls, as well as 12 consecutive games at the United Center. “That’s a lot of losing,’’ Frank said. The last time the Pistons beat the Bulls was Dec. 23, 2008, and the last Detroit win in Chicago was Feb. 24, 2006. This is not the longest winning streak for Chicago against Detroit, however. In the mid-1990s, the Bulls beat the Pistons 19 consecutive times.
  • The last time the Bulls and Pistons met, Bulls center Joakim Noah had career highs in points (30) and rebounds (23) in a 108-104 decision. Sports Illustrated this week selected Noah as the best defensive player in the league for the first half of the season. “The last three years he has improved,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He has brought a lot of energy to our defense. He is a multiple effort guy.” This season Noah ranks eight in the league in rebounding with 10.7 boards per game, ranks eighth in blocks per game with 2.1 blocks a game and ranks 38th in the league in steals with 1.31 takeaways a game. Detroit coach Frank noted that Noah’s scoring average has risen to 12.2 points per game and “he gets those points without his number ever being called.”
  • The Bulls play their 24th home game of the season Wednesday, and have played a league-low 17 road games so far. That ratio is about to change dramatically, however. Following Wednesday’s game, the Bulls play two of their next three games at home, but then play six consecutive road games and 10 of their next 12 games on the road. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bulls, since they have a much better road record (12-5) than home record (12-11).
  • Bulls forward Luol Deng will miss his third consecutive game because of a sore right hamstring. Jimmy Butler will get the call again, two days after his star performance against Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, when Butler held Bryant to 16 points on seven for 22 shooting. Estimates on Deng’s return suggest he won’t play until the home game against Charlotte on Monday.

Kent McDill

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