Banged-up Pistons gear up for up-and-down Bulls

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Knee injuries are creating havoc for the Detroit Pistons’ rotation.

Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard, two of the team’s top offensive threats, sat out Detroit’s 114-93 loss at Boston on Friday due to knee soreness. Reserve center Christian Wood is out at least a week with a left knee bone bruise.

For both Griffin and Kennard, the decision to hold them out related to playing a back-to-back set. They could return to action for the Pistons’ home game against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. Detroit has lost three straight.

“With any team, of course, we want them to play,” Pistons guard Derrick Rose said. “But they have to be smart; they have to manage their own bodies, injuries that they are dealing with. Our job at the end is to get in the playoffs, make a run for the playoffs. … Whoever fills in for those guys just has to try to do this as much as they can.”

With their rotation in shambles, the Pistons committed 25 turnovers that led to 32 Celtics points. Center Andre Drummond finished with an odd stat line — six steals and six turnovers.

“Those are the things we have to clean up. The flight is going to be heartbreaking tonight,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “Those are the things we are going to continue to preach. Those are the habits we are going to develop. We are going to get it done. Because you are not going to survive by giving up 25 turnovers, and we had six people with three or more turnovers. That’s the game.”

As for the Bulls, they are in the midst of a roller coaster week. They led by 26 in Oklahoma City and lost 109-106, then trailed by 18 in the fourth quarter at Washington and won 110-109 in overtime.

Forward Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points against the Wizards, and swingman Zach LaVine made five clutch free throws in the closing seconds of regulation.

“I’ve said that I feel we’re getting better and growing as a group,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “Sometimes when you don’t win, that gets lost. I still think we’re growing and coming together as a family and a good team. We hung in there on a night when, for three quarters, we weren’t very good. But we made enough plays to win.”

Guard Kris Dunn also played a big role, as he was primarily responsible for limiting Wizards star Bradley Beal to a 4-for-19 shooting performance.

“We’ve been working hard and staying positive. It feels good to get a win,” Dunn told NBC Sports Chicago. “But now we have to carry that momentum into Detroit. We need to start building on this.”

That’s something the Bulls have been unable to do throughout the season. They have posted back-to-back victories just once, when they defeated the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies at the beginning of December.

They have enjoyed success against the Pistons. Chicago won both of its home matchups with Detroit earlier this season, a 112-106 home victory on Nov. 1 and a 109-89 home triumph on Nov. 20.

LaVine was the offensive leader in the first game, scoring 26 points, while Markkanen had 24 points in the second meeting.

–Field Level Media

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