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News » Pistons-Bulls Preview 2009-12-01

Pistons-Bulls Preview 2009-12-01

Pistons-Bulls Preview 2009-12-01Ben Gordon has probably been looking forward to facing the Chicago Bulls since signing with the Detroit Pistons over the summer. A sprained ankle, though, could prevent that from happening Wednesday night.

Gordon hopes to be able to play against his former team for the first time as the Pistons visit the Bulls.

Drafted third overall by Chicago in 2004, Gordon led the Bulls in scoring the past four seasons but said in July that they never offered him a contract once he hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. Detroit signed him to a five-year deal worth $50-plus million.

"I mean they didn't pursue me at all. They didn't even make an offer so it was pretty much a one-man race," Gordon told ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago in July.

He got off to a strong start with Detroit (6-11) before getting hurt against Cleveland last Wednesday, averaging a team-high 19.8 points. Gordon missed the last two games, but practiced Monday and is listed as questionable.

"It's feeling pretty good," Gordon told the Pistons' official Web site. "If it continues to progress the way it has been, hopefully I'll be able to play on Wednesday."

The Bulls (6-9) could have used Gordon's scoring on their annual circus road trip. They opened the trip with a 101-87 win over Sacramento on Nov. 17 before dropping the last five matchups.

Chicago failed to score more than 100 in any of the five defeats while allowing opponents to average 109.2 points.

The Bulls had their best defensive effort since the win over the Kings on Monday night. They rallied from 14 down in the third quarter to take a two-point lead in the closing minutes, but Brad Miller missed a shot at the buzzer that would have tied it and Chicago fell 99-97.

"That's a shot I've shot a lot," Miller told the Bulls' official Web site. "It just came up short. ... It's well in my range. I felt comfortable. Just didn't make it. Now we've got to take advantage of these home games coming up and get back on the winning ways."

Chicago plays 16 of its next 23 at the United Center before heading out on a season-high seven-game trip at the end of January. The Bulls have played the fewest home games in the league, going 4-1 and holding opponents to 86.8 points per game.

"I know how hard it is from last year to get back to .500," point guard Derrick Rose said. "We've got to take advantage."

The Bulls' first chance to get on track comes against a Pistons team that ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Atlanta 94-88 on Sunday.

Detroit was led by another former Bull, Ben Wallace, who had 11 of the team's 24 offensive rebounds. Wallace, traded to Cleveland in February 2008 after spending a season and a half with Chicago, finished with 18 rebounds and 10 points.

"Ben was phenomenal again today," coach John Kuester said. "It's amazing the level that he is still grabbing rebounds."

Wallace led the NBA in rebounding twice in his first stint in Detroit, averaging 13.0 in 2001-02 and 15.4 in '02-'03. He has started every game this season, grabbing 9.9 boards per contest.

Wallace's strong play is coming at a good time for the Pistons, who have been playing with a limited roster because of injuries to starters Richard Hamilton (ankle), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Gordon (ankle).

On Sunday, forward Charlie Villanueva was hit in the face while being fouled and suffered a broken nose. He is listed as questionable for Wednesday.

Chicago took three of four meetings with Detroit in each of the last three seasons, winning all six matchups at home.

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Added: December 1, 2009


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