Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls preview

The Detroit Pistons (14-15) are on the road to take on the Chicago Bulls (13-13) tonight, where we’ll see for the first time if anything positive comes from their players-only meeting on Saturday.

It seems as if the Detroit Pistons (14-15) are in full on doom and gloom mode heading into tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls.

The Pistons are a game under .500. They are only 3-5 since Reggie Jackson came back. They’ve lost three of their last four games where all three losses were horrible in their own right — by 19 to the Philadelphia 76ers at home, by giving up a season-high 122 points to the Washington Wizards, and losing by 15 to Indiana Pacers at home in a game where they trailed the entirety of the final three quarters.

That all culminated in a players-only meeting in the locker room following the Pacers game. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Vincent Ellis, the meeting was Aron Baynes’ idea and Marcus Morris did most of the talking, as one would expect from the guy who always tells it like it is.

The meeting lasted around 30 to 45 minutes, and perhaps focused on some of the guys’ offensive frustrations. At least that’s what Stan Van Gundy alluded to in his post-game presser. For example:

SVG even hinted after the Pacers game that he’s considering making some changes to the starting lineup. Whether that means inserting Jon Leuer for either Morris or Tobias Harris or moving Jackson to the bench in favor of Ish Smith remains to be seen.

All of this hoopla because the Pistons are in a four-game funk? Give me a break. Bad four-game stretches happen during an 82-game season. No need for any drastic measures like a starting lineup change. For the record, SVG previously hinted at a lineup change in the midst of a four-game losing streak in mid-November and nothing came of it.

The only reason for this tizzy is back-to-back ugly losses. Before then, Detroit had alternated wins and losses with Jackson back as the starting point and everything was just fine. It still is now, too.

So far the Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope-Morris-Harris-Andre Drummond lineup has played poorly in their seven games together, sporting an offensive rating of 98.7 and a defensive rating of 109.3. But in their 25 games last year, those numbers were 107.4 and 104.3, respectively. So, let’s all pump the brakes. It’s not time to scrap one of the NBA’s best lineups from down the stretch last season because the last eight games didn’t go as planned.

While I think it’s healthy team behavior to have open dialogue amongst themselves, I don’t think there’s much of a need to get frantic. Let’s take our hand off the panic button and see what happens tonight in Chicago, where there will not be any starting lineup changes according to SVG as of this morning.

Speaking of Chicago, the Bulls aren’t doing so hot themselves at the moment. They’ve lost six of their nine December games and their shooting has predictably come back down to earth after a hot start to the season.

When the Bulls and Pistons previously met back on December 6th, Detroit won 102-91 at the Palace. Although, Chicago was on their fourth game in five nights then. This time around, they’ve had two full days off going in.

The game tips off at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight and we’ll see for the first time if anything positive comes as a result of the players-only meeting.

Note: Leuer is a game-time decision (back spasms) but he went through shootaround this morning.

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