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Bulls-Pistons Preview

Mar 28, 2010 - 5:04 AM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Chicago (33-38) at Detroit (23-49), 6:00 p.m. EDT

With time running out to grab the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Chicago Bulls are trying not to take anyone lightly.

That might be hard against their next opponent, against whom they've won six straight and routed in their last matchup.

The Bulls look to sweep the season series from the Detroit Pistons for the first time in 14 years when they clash at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday night.

Chicago (34-38) moved within 1 1/2 games of Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East following a 106-83 victory over league-worst New Jersey on Saturday. The Bulls improved to 3-1 following a 10-game losing streak, and bounced back from a 29-point home loss to Miami on Thursday.

Jannero Pargo scored a season-high 27 points and Taj Gibson had a career-high 22 while adding 13 rebounds. The Bulls led by as many as 28, holding the Nets to 35.8 percent shooting while outrebounding them 54-42.

Chicago has tightened up its defense lately, holding three of its last four opponents to fewer than 90 points after giving up more than 100 in each game of the losing streak.

"We played with a little of an edge tonight," Joakim Noah said. "They're not a great team but it doesn't matter. We lost to this team before and it was important for us to come out with the right mentality and we did."

Now, the Bulls are looking to take advantage of another team that is almost assuredly out of playoff contention. Chicago hasn't lost to Detroit since Dec. 23, 2008, and recorded a 120-87 home victory on Jan. 11.

"They're all big for us now," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Everything is magnified because of the playoff race."

Derrick Rose, who has totaled 19 points the last two games, has averaged 21.0 points in his previous three against the Pistons (23-49).

After scoring at least 100 for only the fourth time in 14 games, the Bulls will try for another big night against a struggling defense. Detroit has lost seven straight after a 118-110 defeat at New Jersey on Friday.

Opponents are averaging 110.0 points and shooting 53.8 percent against Detroit during the skid.

"We can't seem to get it going," Pistons rookie Jonas Jerebko said. "We're so much better than we showed. We just got to show a better effort than we are doing now. It's not acceptable."

However, the Pistons were able to get their offense untracked after being held to fewer than 84 points in losses to Cleveland and Indiana. Tayshaun Prince scored 27 points, Richard Hamilton added 18 and Jason Maxiell had 13 and 11 rebounds against the Nets.

Detroit, which plays its next three at home, were without Ben Wallace (sore knees) and Chris Wilcox (hamstring). Both are questionable for Sunday.