Bulls hope to keep playoff hopes alive at Pistons

NBA Basketball

The Chicago Bulls look for their third straight win on Sunday when they visit a Detroit Pistons team on the second leg of a weekend back-to-back.

Chicago (28-39) snapped a four-game losing skid with a 120-99 blowout of Charlotte on Thursday, then followed it up the next night with a 121-99 rout of Boston.

Zach LaVine and Coby White each scored 25 points on Friday, following up on Nikola Vucevic’s 29-point, 14-rebound effort Thursday at Charlotte.

“Those guys are such talented players, and both score the ball at such a high rate,” White said of LaVine and Vucevic in his postgame press conference on Friday. “I just try to play off those guys and get those guys the ball. Hats off to them, they’re both All-Stars but they’re super selfish and they just always make the right play.”

Vucevic recorded a triple-double against Boston with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Acquired in a trade from Orlando in late march, Vucevic has settled in to snare at least 11 rebounds in each of his last seven games while scoring 24-plus points in four of those seven.

The two lopsided wins, coupled with Indiana’s loss to Washington on Saturday, have the Bulls three games out of the last play-in tournament spot in the Eastern Conference.

They face a tough, five-game stretch to close the regular season, drawing two matchups with Brooklyn and one against Milwaukee. The Nets and Bucks are jockeying for the second and third spots in the East behind conference-leading Philadelphia, which beat Detroit on Saturday, 118-104.

Saturday’s loss was the eighth in the last 10 for the Pistons (20-48), who sit in last place in the East. Six Pistons scored in double-figures against the 76ers, none with more than Saddiq Bey and Jerami Grant at 14 points each.

The low, individual scoring outputs were in part a byproduct of Detroit coach Dwane Casey going deep in the rotation. Eleven Pistons played at least 10:57, and none more than 24 minutes.

Rookie Deividas Sirvydis recorded career-highs Saturday with eight points and six rebounds in 24 minutes.

“I expect to go on the court all the time, but I had only played 49 minutes this season (prior to Saturday),” Sirvydis said in his postgame press conference. “Just have to work hard and the chance will come.”

Fellow rookies Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes all played more than 20 minutes and each made contributions. Stewart scored nine points off the bench with six rebounds and two blocked shots, while Hayes added 10 points and six assists.

Hayes has passed for at least five assists in every appearance since April 14.

With a win on Sunday, Chicago would complete a season sweep of Detroit. The Bulls won matchups on Feb. 17 in Chicago, 105-102, and March 21 in Detroit, 100-86.

Grant scored 43 points for the Pistons in the first matchup, setting his career-high. LaVine led Chicago in both wins with 37 and 18 points.

–Field Level Media

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