Bulls, Pistons resume semifinals series in Windy City
(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons attempt to take a commanding 3-0 lead
in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Chicago Bulls, as the
clubs battle tonight at the United Center.
The top-seeded Pistons picked up a pair of convincing victories in Games 1 and
2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton both
scored 20 points as Detroit crushed the fifth-seeded Bulls, 95-69, in the
opener, while Tayshaun Prince collected 25 points and seven rebounds to lift
Detroit to a 108-87 victory and 2-0 series advantage over Chicago.
Billups has collected 17.0 points and 7.0 assists per game in the first two
contests of the series, while Hamilton has posted 22.0 points, 6.5 boards and
5.5 assists for the Pistons, who are 6-0 in this year’s postseason.
Ben Gordon is averaging just 10.0 points per game in the first two contests of
the series for the Bulls, while Luol Deng 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in the
two losses. The sharp-shooting Gordon is shooting just 31.3 percent from the
field, including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, against Detroit.
Game 4 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Sunday at the United
Detroit is 4-6 in its last 10 Game 3s in the postseason, while the Bulls have
captured two straight Game 3s.
There is a lot of playoff history between Chicago and Detroit. This is the
sixth time these clubs have battled in the postseason. The Pistons have won
three of the five series.
Chicago eliminated the Pistons in seven games in the 1974 Western Conference
semifinals and swept Detroit, 4-0, in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals.
The Pistons beat the Bulls in five, 4-1, in the 1988 East semis. They also
knocked out Chicago in the Eastern Conference finals in 1989 (4-2) and 1990
Detroit won its fifth Central Division title in the past six seasons during
the 2006-07 campaign. The Pistons, who have reached the postseason for a sixth
straight year, fell in six games against the Miami Heat in last year’s Eastern
Conference Finals. The Pistons are the No. 1 seed for the third time in four
years and own home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs.
The Pistons have appeared in the East finals four straight years and have made
it to at least the conference semifinals for a sixth straight year.
Former Piston Ben Wallace, who is averaging 11.0 points and 7.5 boards in
Games 1 and 2 versus Detroit, and the Bulls swept the 2006 NBA Champion Heat.
Wallace, who signed with Chicago as an unrestrictive free agent last
offseason, left Central Division-rival Detroit and signed a lucrative, multi-
year contract with the Bulls last summer. A four-time All-Star, Wallace spent
the previous six seasons with the Pistons and helped them win an NBA title in
Against the Heat, who became the first defending champion to be swept in the
first round since the 1957 Warriors, Chicago played tough interior defense and
knocked down the clutch shots.
Chicago advanced past the opening round of the playoffs for the first time
since 1998, when it last won the NBA title. Prior to defeating Miami, the
Bulls last playoff series victory was over the Utah Jazz in six games during
the 1998 NBA Finals.
The Bulls are in the playoffs for the third straight year and 28th time in