Chicago Bulls end five game losing streak with win in Detroit

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls ended their five-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 114-108 road win against the Detroit Pistons. Sitting at 18-48, the Pistons have the second-worst record in the Eastern conference, so this win doesn’t seem like one the 40-26 Bulls should be commended for.

However, after five straight losses, an extremely hard remaining schedule, and an atrocious 0-14 record against the top three teams from either conference, the Bulls need wins where they can get them. For their part, Detroit had won three straight games and six of their last eight.

Despite the level of competition, the Bulls showed some encouraging signs in this win. Firstly, they played with an aggression that was largely absent during the losing streak. The Bulls scored 60 points in the paint against Detroit after averaging less than 50 during their previous five games.

Fouls have been a recent issue for the Bulls as well. During their previous five games, the Bulls averaged 11.6 fewer free throw attempts and 2.6 more fouls committed than their competition. Against the Pistons, they shot 35 free throws, 18 more than the Pistons did, and committed 10 fewer fouls.

The Chicago Bulls are in a very precarious position in the Eastern Conference.

A 3-5 record after the All-Star break dropped the tied-for-first place Bulls to fourth place in the East, now 3.5 games behind Miami. Given the state of the East, this may not have entirely been a bad thing.

If the Bulls making the playoffs is a given, then there are only three important things to worry about: avoiding the play-in, having home-court advantage in the first round, and who they’re matched up with.

The Bulls are currently 4.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors who are currently in the seventh seed and the play-in tournament. Impending injury absence returns by Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, and Patrick Williams, should keep the Bulls from dropping too far too soon.

Gaining home-court advantage is going to be critical for the Bulls who currently hold the fourth seed and last spot for having the advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, the streaking Celtics, who’ve won eight of their last 10 games, sit only half a game behind the Bulls.

This is bad. The Bulls have the largest home-to-road record difference of any team in the NBA. They have the fourth-best home record (24-10) and the fifteenth-best road record (16-16).

As long as the Bulls keep a top-four seed, the particular seed they finish with won’t matter nearly as much as who they’re matched up against. The Brooklyn Nets, a team that could potentially win the East, still sit in the eighth seed, which would prove to be an unlucky reward for the team that finishes with the best record in the regular season.

Dropping to the middle of the playoff seeding might very well have benefitted the Bulls, assuming they can work themselves into position for a matchup against Boston or Cleveland. Given the disparity of talent in the East, any first-round matchup is going to be difficult but it would be beneficial to avoid the top teams for as long as possible.

Next. Things to know for Bulls playoff race. dark