The Pistons won their fourth straight, 107-88, against the Bulls, on Friday night. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Detroit — The Pistons took care of business this week against three of the league’s worst teams.
Up next is a test against the gold standard.
Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points each to lead Detroit to a 107-88 victory on Friday against Chicago, moving the Pistons to 4-0 on the current six-game homestand with their eighth win in the last 10 games and fifth straight home win overall.
At 12-7, the Pistons are five games over .500 for the first time this season with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in town Saturday for the second game of a back-to-back for the Pistons. Detroit previously topped Houston, Phoenix and New York during the homestand.
"It should be a hot gym (Saturday), but it's easy to come watch Golden State," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. "We want to earn the respect from the fans on Tuesday night against whoever."
The Pistons finished off the "Tuesday nights against whoever" stretch with a big start on Friday and never trailed.
Jackson made his first six shots, including five 3-pointers, giving the Pistons a comfortable lead early. It was the fourth straight game Jackson has scored at least 19 points.
"I really liked our start," Casey said. "We started with energy, set the tone: Offensively, defensively, physicality. So it was pretty good."
Andre Drummond had 19 points and 19 rebounds, but made one of his two free-throw attempts, giving him a 2-for-14 mark over the last three games (14.3 percent).
The Pistons led by 19 in the second quarter, but Chicago fought back.
Rookie Wendell Carter Jr. directed the Bulls back in the third quarter, scoring 15 points in less than five minutes after halftime to shrink the deficit to 62-57 with 7:22 left in the quarter.
The Pistons then went on a 17-2 run to bring the lead to 79-59, and cruised the rest of the way.
The Bulls were without Lauri Markkanen (elbow), Kris Dunn (knee), Bobby Portis (knee) and Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (ankle), who will miss the entire season.
Carter’s 28 points were a career high for the seventh pick out of Duke. Jabari Parker added 12 points.
The Pistons held Zach LaVine to a season-low eight points, the first time he was held to single digits this season. LaVine entered the game ninth in the league in scoring at 25.6 points per game.
The Pistons held the Bulls to 3-for-21 shooting (14.3 percent) on 3-pointers. Detroit entered the game third in the league in 3-point percentage defense at 32.3 percent.
Reggie Bullock added 13 points and six assists, and Ish Smith scored 12 in the win, the eighth of the Pistons' last nine against Chicago. The week was a continuation of improvements for the Pistons against the NBA's worst teams.
"That was our struggle last year," Smith said. "We have to respect everybody in this league. There are no easy wins."
Especially the next one.
For Saturday, the Pistons could be getting a boost to the backcourt and bench.
If Luke Kennard was injury-free after Friday’s rehab appearance with the Grand Rapids Drive of the G League, Casey said he could be back in the lineup Saturday against Golden State.
“It depends on how he recovers from tonight and how he responds to tonight,” Casey said before the game. “Either (Saturday) night or Monday.”
Kennard has missed 15 games with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder. He scored 27 points, including 5 of 8 on 3-pointers, in a 119-95 loss for the Drive on Friday.
The Warriors also will have two-time MVP Stephen Curry back after he missed the last 11 games with a groin injury.
The game will be Detroit's second back-to-back of the season. In the first sequence, they lost at Brooklyn on the second game.
"You use that sort of a measuring stick, but at the end of the day, it's about how we play," Griffin said. "If we play the right way, we'll be fine."
The Pistons close the homestand against Oklahoma City on Monday.
Before the game, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he was watching live when his son, Jack, scored his first career points for Michigan State on Nov. 18.
Hoiberg, a redshirt freshman, made a pair of free throws to cap the Spartans' 101-33 victory against Tennessee Tech, with the 68-point win tying a program record.
“He’ll never forget having to shoot for that 100th point to get the crowd free tacos,” Fred Hoiberg said before Friday’s game. “It’s not easy,”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.