February Pistons articles *Updated Daily*

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  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~

    Lindsey v. Carlos: Six v. a half-dozen
    by Ian Cameron

    So Lindsey Hunter is back, and the Pistons are hoping that he can give Chauncey the rest that Carlos Arroyo was apparently unable to.

    The knock on Arroyo–he of the exceptional ball-handling and 'And 1' passing style–is that he is limited defensively. And despite his proven ability to distribute the ball (he's still averaging over 10 assists per 48), he doesn't have the jumper or finishing skills to make his drives as effective as you'd like.
  2. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 8th -

    ~ Detroit News ~

    Saunders still refining offense
    Pistons coach's deep playbook is a source of endless midseason tweaks and additions.
    By JoAnne C. Gerstner

    Pistons coach Flip Saunders calls it the "evolution."

    Others simply call it his ever-growing and changing playbook, the very definition of a work-in-progress.

    By his own estimate, Saunders has only deployed half of his playbook, leaving a nice stash of new sets and variations on old stuff for the second half of the season.

    Saunders is known for his offensive creativity, which hasn't been dulled by the Pistons' relatively easy cruise through the first half of the season.

    Fantasy sports
    Just use the Pistons factor when selecting your team
    By Sean Baligian

    Sometimes we all need to stop and smell the roses to realize what we have witnessed with the Pistons the past two-plus seasons.

    Face it, sometimes you have to look twice when scouring the NBA standings and you see the Pistons' record. It's hard to imagine any lineup doing better. Or is it?

    In the fantasy realm, you could use the Pistons Factor to your advantage.

    Let's see if we can be the Joe Dumars of the fantasy world and put together a lineup based solely on guys with Pistons connections.

    Hawks 99, Pistons 98
    Pistons lose 2nd straight
    Lowly Hawks take advantage of overconfidence, fatigue
    By JoAnne C. Gerstner

    Perhaps it was overconfidence.
    Maybe it's a midseason case of mental and physical tiredness.
    Whatever the excuse, Tuesday's final result can't be ignored.

    The Hawks beat the Pistons 99-98 at Philips Arena. It is the first time the Pistons have lost back-to-back regular-season games since March 23 and 25, 2005 -- a 60-game span.

    The Hawks and their sparse crowd celebrated as if they had just won the NBA championship.

    And the Pistons (39-8) wondered aloud about the root cause of their first losing streak of the season.

    Pistons: Notebook
    Saunders' concerns prove to be accurate
    Coach worries about energy levels, and then his team comes out flat in 99-98 loss to Hawks.
    By JoAnne C. Gerstner

    Maybe Pistons coach Flip Saunders had a bad premonition before Tuesday's game against the Hawks.

    He discussed his concerns over the team's energy level, hoping it would find a way to ramp things up.

    He was right to be concerned.

    The Pistons were flat in a 99-98 loss, and the players agreed with Saunders' concerns.

    "We had poor execution down the stretch, we missed free throw, we failed to put the game away," Ben Wallace said. "I don't think we really played with the heart and desire we usually play with. We didn't impose our will. We came out and kind of coasted."

    ~ Detroit Free Press ~

    Going South
    Pistons lose two straight for first time this season
    By Krista Latham

    The Hawks celebrated their 99-98 victory Tuesday night over the NBA-leading Pistons in a bustling, jumping, head-rubbing group hug under the basket, knowing that as one of the league's lowliest teams, this was likely their moment of glory.

    A few seconds earlier, Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups and small forward Tayshaun Prince misread each other on an inbounds pass with 0.8 second left, causing Billups to lose his footing, the ball, and the Pistons' final chance to win the game.

    THE PISTONS' SPIELBERG?
    Davis moonlights as producer for W.A.R. company
    By Krista Latham

    Pistons reserve forward Dale Davis won't fly to Houston next week to play in the NBA All-Star Game.

    But he will head to the Texas city to attend to a different career milestone -- the release of his first movie.

    Substitute a red carpet for the hardwood, a power suit for a jersey. Davis has gone Hollywood.

    The movie, inspired by life as he has known it in the NBA, is called "Playas Ball." The red-carpet premiere is Feb. 16 in Houston, three days before the All-Star Game. The film's public debut is the following day. "Playas Ball" is scheduled to hit Detroit soon, although a date hasn't been set.

    Hunter ready to help spell achy Billups
    By Krista Latham

    He wasn't sure how long -- or if -- he'd actually play. But before tip-off of the game against the Hawks on Tuesday night, Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter knew one thing: He was back.

    Back on the road, back on the floor for warm-ups, and back on the active list.

    "Ready to go," he said.

    After missing the first 46 games of the season recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, Hunter was deemed healthy enough by the Pistons staff, and coach Flip Saunders declared the team's need big enough to bring the veteran back a few weeks early.

    AL TOBY: Working OT

    HOT TOPICS

    PLANNER

    Pistons Stats

    ~ The Oakland Press ~

    Now it's official: Pistons in slump
    By Dana Gauruder

    Open up the think tank and let the theories pour in. They're mentally fatigued. They're worn out. They're cocky. They're unfocused. Perhaps they're all of the above. Whatever the case, the Detroit Pistons have finally hit their first slump of the season.

    Their first losing streak of the season and their first loss to a bad team came on the same night, as they found a way to fritter away a game to the 15-32 Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night. Joe Johnson's bank-in layup with 7.6 seconds remaining gave the Hawks, who got blown out by the Pistons by 28 points less than three weeks earlier, an improbable 99-98 victory and created a whole lot of head-scratching in the Pistons' locker room.

    "I thought tonight we came into the game a little too overconfident," Chauncey Billups said. "I think we came into this game feeling like they can't beat us and those the games that are most dangerous. This team has a lot of great young talent and playing against us, that's their season. This makes their season."

    Flip says he'll cut starter minutes
    By Dana Gauruder

    Flip Saunders believes that his starters haven't looked all that lively in recent games. For that, he blames himself.

    Saunders feels he's gone too long with his starting unit at times, particularly in close games. He plans to ride his bench - even if it might cost the team a chance to win 70 games - to prevent his starters from wearing down before the postseason.

    "When we have great energy, we're tough to beat," he said. "What I'd like to do is play more guys and loosen the minutes of some of the (starters). If you can loosen five minutes a game for each of them, over 40 games, you're talking 200-some minutes. You're talking about seven games of actual leg time."

    ~ Atlanta Journal-Constitution ~

    Johnson pulls out another win
    By Sekou Smith

    The true measure of this Detroit Pistons team won't be clear until the summer, when an NBA champion is crowned.

    But in the meantime, with the league-leading Pistons winning at a wicked clip — they're on pace for 60-plus wins and a third straight trip to the NBA Finals — the conversation is worth having.

    Just how good is this Pistons team? Not 70-wins, among the greatest teams of all time good, as some predicted when they stormed to a 37-5 start. But they're still about as good as a team can get in this era.

    Tuesday night, though, they ran into a Hawks team looking to jumpstart its own trek toward destiny.

    Joe Johnson's knifing layup past the outstretched arm of Ben Wallace with 7.5 seconds to play was the final dagger in the Hawks' 99-98 come-from-behind thriller that stunned the basketball world, not to mention the 17,033 screaming fans at Philips Arena who served as eyewitnesses to the slaying of the league giant.​
  3. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~​


    So much for that wake-up call: Hawks (?!) top Pistons
    by Ian Cameron

    Being the consummate homer, I didn't want to admit this, but here goes. The Pistons are not the clear-cut best team in the NBA anymore. Sure, they were atop their game–and the league–for the first half of the season, but now, reality is setting in and/or the Mavs and Spurs are stepping up.

    [click to read more...]
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Associated Press ~~

    Pistons' Billups to participate in 3-Point Shootout
    The Associated Press

    DETROIT (AP) — Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons is headed to Houston for the NBA All-Star Weekend, even if he isn't named to the Eastern Conference team.

    Billups is one of six players scheduled to participate in the league's 20th annual 3-point shootout on Feb. 18 at the Toyota Center.

    Also see

    Denver Post Article

    Chauncey is from Park Hill, a Denver Colorado neighborhood.


    ~~ Sports Illustrated / SI.com ~~


    Mahoney on Basketball: Should all Pistons starters be All-Stars?
    by Brian Mahoney (AP)

    Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders is going to the All-Star game. So how many of his players will join him?

    The reserves for the Feb. 19 game in Houston will be revealed Thursday, and some people think every Detroit starter should get chosen - a reward for helping the Pistons roll to the NBA's best record.

    The Pistons certainly wouldn't object.
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~

    Pistons sink Clippers
    by Matt Watson

    For a few moments on Wednesday night, Pistons fans were left wondering if the season's first losing streak would stretch to three games. Elton Brand scored nearly as many points in the first quarter (17) as the Pistons (18), giving the Clippers a seven-point cushion entering the second quarter. But Detroit outscored L.A. 30-15 in the second, and never trailed again for the rest of the game.


    NY Daily News: Chauncey, Rip, and Ben are All-Stars
    by Ian Cameron

    According to the NY Daily News, Chauncey, Rip and Ben will be named to the Eastern Conference All Star squad when reserves are announced tomorrow. Still no word yet on whether Sheed will replace injured Jermaine O'Neal in the lineup; check it out:


    ~~ Detroit Free Press ~~


    Clippers' Hack-A-Ben strategy fails -- again
    by KRISTA LATHAM

    After two meetings with the revived Los Angeles Clippers this season, one thing is certain.

    Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy isn't too proud to use a Hack-A-Ben strategy if the game is on the line in the fourth quarter.


    PISTONS CORNER: Report: 3 starters will be All-Stars
    by KRISTA LATHAM

    The official NBA All-Star reserve voting results are announced tonight, but Wednesday, the rumors started flying.

    The New York Daily News, quoting an anonymous league source, reported that Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace were all voted in. The source didn't know whether power forward Rasheed Wallace would get onto the team via commissioner David Stern's extra pick as the fill-in for injured starter Jermaine O'Neal.


    ~~ LA Times ~~


    Detroit Ends Losing Streak With Clipper Defeat
    Players remain upbeat after ending a successful 4-2 trip with a 97-87 defeat at Detroit.
    by Jason Reid

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- It wasn't the closing act the Clippers wanted for a winning trip, which ended here Wednesday night in a 97-87 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

    The Clippers said a victory against the formidable Pistons would have provided the capper to a trip among the best in franchise history, and helped in their efforts to prove they're for real.


    ~~ Orange County Register ~~


    Clippers lose 97-87
    by ART THOMPSON III

    AUBURN HILLS, MICH. – The two-time NBA finalist Detroit Pistons were in dire pursuit of a victory Wednesday.

    The Clippers' six-game trip ended at The Palace of Auburn Hills as the Pistons snapped the Clippers' four-game winning streak with a 97-87 victory.

    ~~ Detroit News ~~

    Pistons back on track, grab 40th victory
    Two-game losing skid is history as Detroit halts the Clippers' four-game win streak.
    by Chris McCosky

    AUBURN HILLS -- The All-Star break -- any kind of break, for that matter -- can't get here soon enough for the Pistons.

    Completing their fourth set of back-to-back games in the last three weeks, the Pistons had just enough to thwart a red-hot Clippers team, 97-87, Wednesday night.


    Pistons lineup might make All-Star team
    Four Eastern coaches, including Larry Brown, say they'll vote to add Detroit's starting five.
    by Chris McCosky

    AUBURN HILLS -- Pistons coach Flip Saunders hasn't canvassed his coaching brethren, but he has a feeling he will be coaching almost his entire starting five in the All-Star game on Sunday, Feb. 19.

    "From talking to coaches, I think we have a good chance to get three and quite possibly four players on the team," he said. "A lot of them have said they were going to vote for all five of our players. To get four or even three players selected when none made it on the fan voting is unbelievable."


    Win Pistons tickets

    Be your sweetheart's prince on Valentine's Day. Enter to win four tickets to the Pistons-Nets game Feb. 14 and four Tayshaun Prince jerseys.


    ~~ Booth Newspapers ~~

    Prince points the way in Pistons victory, but Dunleavy shoves them down the road
    by Danny Knobler

    AUBURN HILLS -- Another sluggish night. Another game where the Detroit Pistons were struggling to put away an injury-weakened team.

    Tayshaun Prince came to the rescue. So did Mike Dunleavy.

    Mike Dunleavy?


    Pistons await All-Star announcement
    by Danny Knobler

    AUBURN HILLS -- They haven't always looked like All-Stars for the last week, but a 40-8 record tells you the Detroit Pistons have plenty of All-Stars this season. Exactly how many they'll find out tonight, when the NBA announces the full teams on TNT's pregame show before the Miami-Dallas game.

    The Pistons expect to have at least three players named to the team for the Feb. 19 game in Houston, and maybe more than that.

    "We've had a lot of coaches that said they would vote for five,'' coach Flip Saunders said, before Wednesday's 97-87 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. "Even if three make it, without anyone voted in by the fans, that would be pretty unbelievable.''


    ~~ The Oakland Press ~~

    Pistons slip Clips
    Detroit manages to avoid three-game skid
    by BILL ROOSE

    AUBURN HILLS - Early on, it appeared the Pistons' season-high losing streak would get bumped to three straight.

    But how could this be?

    After all, the Pistons were hosting the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the worst franchises in the history of professional sports, right?

    Not so easy anymore.
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~


    DIME magazine — cheap!

    Dime Magazine is selling one-year subscriptions for just 81 cents , apparently in honor of that one game that everyone talked about last month where Mamba had two assists.


    NY Post: Four Piston All-Stars
    by Ian Cameron

    Not to be outdone by the NY Daily News, the NY Post's Peter Vecsey has revealed the entire Eastern Conference All-Star lineup ahead of today's announcement. Piston fans will be happy to know that in addition to Chauncey, Rip, and Ben, Rasheed Wallace (whom Chauncey calls the team's MVP) has also made the squad.

    Note to Lurkers. The terrible mind that is Roscoe is concocting more hoops for non-posting members to jump through to get their daily news fix. Why not start posting today and save us all the drama? We want you to participate (it keeps the site going) and you want the news, so compromise is in order... You can start by introducing yourself here. ;)
  7. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    Pat Caputo piece from The Oakland Press

    Pistons could use some kind of boost
    By Pat Caputo

    Tired - that's the first impression the Pistons presented Wednesday.

    They've hit the wall. The dog days of February are their demon. Forget 70 wins. Just getting it back together and maintaining a stranglehold on home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is the adjusted, more realistic and necessary goal.

    That's why their 97-87 victory over the improved Clippers, although hardly scintillating, was nonetheless important.

    It didn't matter how or against what team or where - the Pistons needed a win.
  8. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 10th -

    ~ Detroit News ~


    Pistons will have four All-Stars
    Billups, Hamilton and Wallaces are selected as reserves for game in Houston on Feb. 19.
    By Chris McCosky

    Talk about your dream team. When Flip Saunders goes to his bench during the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 19, he will be able to summon four of his own players.

    Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were selected as Eastern Conference reserves by a coaches' vote.

    Boston's Paul Pierce, Toronto's Chris Bosh and New Jersey's Vince Carter were also selected.

    Saunders said he will play all four together.

    "It's only fitting that the first time those guys step on the floor, they step on the floor together," Saunders said.

    Pistons' hurricane relief: I do
    Most people are nervous on their wedding day, but Denis Davis and Courtey Green probably will have a few more butterflies than most when they tie the knot Tuesday on Valentine's Day.

    The two will exchange vows before more than 19,000 at halftime of the Pistons-Nets game at The Palace.

    Davis, 28, who grew up in Taylor, and Green, 26, were victims of Hurricane Katrina and lost everything in their Biloxi, Miss.-area home, including everything for their upcoming wedding, Pistons.com reported.


    ~ Detroit Free Press ~

    NBA names two guards, Wallaces as East reserves
    By Krista Latham

    Chauncey Billups was the point guard who shot too much, who couldn't run a team and who bounced through four other NBA teams before he found stability and respect.

    Now he has respect at the highest level. He's an All-Star.

    Richard Hamilton was the shooting guard deemed too skinny and too soft to withstand the brute physicality of the NBA. Then his childhood idol, Michael Jordan, traded him, the ultimate dishonor.

    Now, he's an All-Star, too.

    For those two Pistons -- and the Wallaces -- Thursday was a day of honor, as the NBA named Billups, Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace as reserves on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.


    ~ Booth Newspapers ~

    By Danny Knobler

    Perhaps the fans didn't notice, but the coaches sure did.

    The Detroit Pistons, shut out in fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game starting lineup, got their reward for a 40-8 record Thursday, when four of the five Piston starters were named as Eastern Conference All-Star reserves. Coaches in each conference voted for the seven available reserve spots.

    Chauncey Billups will be an All-Star for the first time, as will Richard Hamilton. Ben Wallace will go for the fourth time and Rasheed Wallace for the third (first as a Piston). Only Tayshaun Prince was left out, and there's still a chance he could be named by commissioner David Stern as an injury replacement for Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal.


    ~ The Oakland Press ~

    By Dana Gauruder

    Even when the Pistons finally get individual recognition, the team concept comes first. Upon entering this season's All-Star Game for the Eastern Conference on Feb. 19, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups will walk onto the court at Houston's Toyota Center as a unit.

    "It's only fitting that the first time those guys step on the floor," coach Flip Saunders said, "they step on the floor together."

    In a display of respect and admiration for the Pistons' current 40-8 record and consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, the conference coaches selected fourfifths of Detroit's starting unit as All-Star reserves. It's the first time in franchise history that four of its players have made the All-Star team in the same season. The results of the coaches' balloting were revealed Thursday evening.


    ~ DetroitPistons.com ~

    Pistons.com chose January's nominees, and you decide who wins!
    Pistons fans can vote on the player, sub and photo of the month.


    ~ Orlando Sentinel ~

    By Tim Povtac

    The Detroit Pistons aren't going to win 70 games -- the magical number that would assure a lofty place among the greatest teams in history -- but they aren't going to miss by too much, either.

    Don't let this latest little blip spoil the show.

    None of the Pistons (40-8) were voted by the fans onto the starting lineup of the NBA's Eastern Conference all-star team, but four of their starters became all-star reserves Thursday because the league coaches certainly recognize what they have done.

    "They know what it takes to win,'' said Magic Coach Brian Hill, whose team is struggling. "They know what's important.''

    Detroit may have lost three of its past six games, effectively silencing that 70-win talk, but it easily remains the best team in the East and still has a better record than any West team.

    Hill may return this weekend
    By Brian Schmitz

    Orlando Magic forward Grant Hill, who has missed the past 12 games, could play this weekend, according to Assistant General Manager Otis Smith.

    Hill said he was "close, real close.''

    The Magic face the Detroit Pistons on Friday night in Orlando and the Celtics in Boston on Sunday.

    Hill is in his second rehab stint since undergoing sports hernia surgery Oct. 31.


    ~ CBSSportsLine.com ~

    By Tony Mejia

    Detroit has certainly been impressive, but four All-Star spots is just excessive.

    I apologize for channeling the ghost of Johnny Cochran, but it's kind of fitting, as this reaction piece to the NBA All-Star reserves is going to deal with making a case -- a case for the snubbed.

    The premise: Though the Pistons' 40-8 start is the top story in the league this season, it's not exactly unprecedented.

    How about the teams just a couple of games behind the Pistons this year? San Antonio and Dallas are both 38-10. How many players did the Spurs land? Two. Tony Parker and Duncan. The Mavs? Just Dirk Nowitzki.
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Orlando Sentinel ~~

    Pistons firing on all cylinders this season
    by Tim Povtak

    The Detroit Pistons aren't going to win 70 games -- the magical number that would assure a lofty place among the greatest teams in history -- but they aren't going to miss by too much, either.

    Don't let this latest little blip spoil the show


    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~

    Four plus Flip going to Houston
    by Matt Watson

    Just as Peter Vecsey reported earlier, four Pistons were named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as reserves. Ben Wallace is making his fourth trip, Rasheed Wallace his third, and Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton are going for the first time.
  10. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Slam Magazine ~~

    Rip Hamilton :: Motor City Motivation
    by LANG WHITAKER

    It’s not so much the numbers. Even though he was averaging a career- high 21.8 points on better than 50 percent shooting through early January, what really makes Richard “Rip” Hamilton a key piston in the Pistons’ drive for a third-straight NBA Finals appearance is how he goes about compiling those figures.

    His relentless running and better-than-you-thought range makes him Detroit’s most consistent midrange and perimeter threat, and gives Chauncey, Tayshaun, Big Ben and Sheed that bridge between the interior and the arc.
  11. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 11th -

    ~ Detroit News ~

    Pistons 84, Magic 73
    Pistons show their magic to Orlando
    Detroit's four All-Stars contribute to 41st win
    Travis Reed/AP

    The Orlando Magic could have used a few All-Stars of their own Friday night. Instead, they were all playing for the other team.​
    Rasheed Wallace scored 26 points and Richard Hamilton added 23 as the Detroit Pistons cruised to an 84-73 victory.

    Chauncey Billups had 11 points and 14 assists, while Ben Wallace contributed 10 rebounds for the Pistons. A night earlier, those players made Detroit the first team with four All-Stars since the Lakers in 1998.

    Around the NBA
    Arenas picked as replacement for All-Star game
    Bobcats still bitten by injury bug
    A/P

    Gilbert Arenas is headed to the All-Star game after all.

    The Washington Wizards guard was picked Friday by NBA commissioner David Stern to replace Indiana forward Jermaine O’Neal, who was voted in as an Eastern Conference starter but is injured.

    “It’s an honor. Thank you, David Stern,” Arenas said before Friday night’s game against Cleveland.

    Arenas was perhaps the biggest omission on the East team when reserves for the Feb. 19 game in Houston were announced Thursday night. He ranked fourth in the league with an average of 28.2 points per game.

    NBA: Notebook
    Dunleavy on Clippers: 'We're not a fluke'
    Brian Mahoney A/P

    The Los Angeles Clippers can't say it any more clearly.

    "We're not a fluke," coach Mike Dunleavy said earlier this week.

    Though the Clippers just came back from a strong road trip and are in second place in the Pacific Division, there remain plenty of doubters.

    After all, this is a franchise that has made just three playoff appearances since moving to Los Angeles and is usually considered among the biggest losers in sports.

    But Dunleavy said that time has passed.

    "We don't have to say that we're good because all you have to do is look at our record," he said.


    ~ Detroit Free Press ~

    Star power
    All-Stars take over vs. Magic
    By Krista Latham

    When the Pistons play their normal game, the one that has propelled them to a 41-8 record and four All-Star berths, the game takes a familiar pattern.​

    Everyone fills his role. The defense starts warm and gets hotter.

    At some point, the offense starts rolling and the Pistons get a sizable lead. The bench provides a spark at just the right moment.

    And then superior talent takes over, and the Pistons win as they did Friday night, beating the Orlando Magic, 84-73.

    All-Stars giddy over selection
    By Krista Latham

    Lips spread into toothy grins.

    Giddy laughter in the locker room.

    Camera mugging during the first photo shoot in their red, white and blue All-Star jerseys.

    It seemed Friday that All-Star euphoria had descended on the Pistons one day after the team learned that four of its starters -- point guard Chauncey Billups, shooting guard Richard Hamilton, power forward Rasheed Wallace and center Ben Wallace -- would be East reserves.

    While preparing for Friday night's game in Orlando, they couldn't contain their happiness for themselves, their teammates, their team and the city of Detroit.


    ~ Orlando Sentinel ~

    Defense fuels Pistons' power
    Detroit's all-stars left Orlando star-struck, clamping down on the Magic's scoring.
    By Tim Povtak

    The team with all the all- stars didn't play like an NBA all-star team Friday night.

    They played better than that.

    The Detroit Pistons (41-8) left no doubt why they have the best record in the NBA, returning to their textbook brand of defensive basketball, using the Orlando Magic like tackling dummies in an easier-than-it-sounded 84-73 victory at TD Waterhouse Centre.

    "It was good to get back to playing the way we play," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups. "That was Pistons' basketball."

    Four Pistons starters were named Thursday to the Eastern Conference all-star team -- the most for any one team since the Lakers in 1998 -- and it wasn't because they were individual stars.

    It was because they mesh so well together, putting the Pistons on track to make their third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. On Friday, they only reaffirmed what they have showed all season: No one is better.

    ~ Rocky Mountain News ~

    Billups is likely to be point man for U.S.
    By Chris Tomasson

    Kobe Bryant is in. LeBron James is in. But who's going to pass them the ball in Beijing in 2008?

    Try Chauncey Billups.

    USA Basketball selection czar Jerry Colangelo all but confirmed Thursday the Detroit Pistons point guard and Denver native is the third player with a bid secured for the national team being picked to play in this year's World Championships and the 2008 Olympics.

    Billups' wife, Piper, is due to have the couple's third child in August, but Colangelo expects to give Billups a waiver if he chooses not to participate with the team this year.​
  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~

    So much hair gel; so little sense
    by Ian Cameron

    Pat Riley–apparently still dizzy from the %%%%%-slapping the Mavs gave the Heat on TNT last night–had this to say to the Palm Beach Post about about the perceived All-Star snub of Alonzo Morning by the Eastern Conference coaches...


    (Almost) Everybody loves a winner
    by Ian Cameron

    If you think the folks here in DC are up in arms about Gilbert Arenas being left off the EC All-Stars in favor of Rip Hamilton, think again. Perhaps they were withholding their rage until after David Stern named Jermaine O'Neal's injury replacement (rumored to be Arenas), but for the most part, sentiments on sports talk radio here are similar to those of Michael Lee of the Washington Post, who recently wrote the following...


    JV game is over; bring on the Heat
    by Ian Cameron

    No offense to the Orlando Magic, who have some of the most likeable players in the Association (including Grant Hill and Dwight Howard, the Eastern Conference's answer to Amare Stoudemire), but Friday night's Piston win was simply a warm up for Sunday's much-anticipated matchup with the Heat.
  13. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ The Oakland Press ~~



    Detroit All-Stars glad they'll have company
    by DANA GAURUDER

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Ben Wallace won't feel like a stranger at the All-Star Game this season. He was the Pistons' lone representative the past three seasons at the league's annual midseason showcase. He'll have plenty of company next weekend in Houston with Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton also being selected to the Eastern Conference team. Billups and Hamilton are fi rsttime selections while Rasheed went twice while playing for Portland, most recently in 2001.

    Rookies could go to NBDL

    Rookies Alex Acker and Amir Johnson could be sent down to Fayetteville (N.C.), the Pistons' Development League affiliate, after the All-Star break. Both have spent much of the season on the inactive list.

    "If we do that, we'd probably send them together," coach Flip Saunders said.

    Pistons team up for win
    by DANA GAURUDER

    ORLANDO - To the naked eye, it seemed like Chauncey Billups had grown eyes in the back of his head.

    How else could Billups have known in a split second that Richard Hamilton was racing down the right side on a fast break? Billups tossed a no-look, behind-the-back shovel pass that Hamilton grabbed in full stride and dropped through the basket.

    Pistons have to be ecstatic Brown's gone
    By Keith Langlois

    When you hit my age, either you curl up in the fetal position and wait to be hauled away or you learn to get through every day by constantly cultivating new sources of amusement.

    So I'm trying real hard to cultivate those new sources of amusement.

    And it's tough. But I've found one.

    Every morning, I fire up the ol' laptop and search the Internet for the latest snapshot of the New York Knicks' destruction.

    Charting the course of the Knicks' season is like watching the slowmotion replay of the implosion of the old Hudson's Building. You know it's going to end in a spectacular pile of rubble shrouded by an immense cloud of carcinogenic debris - but you can't tear your eyes away.
  14. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 12th -

    ~ Detroit News ~

    Pistons: Notebook
    U.S. will accommodate expectant dad Billups
    Guard allowed to skip World games to be with his wife; he'll join team for summers of '07, '08.


    It appears certain now that Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups will be on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008.​

    Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of the U.S. men's national team, has agreed to allow Billups to skip the World Championships in Tokyo this summer to tend to the birth of his third child.

    "His wife (Piper) is having a baby and if there's a player or two who might get a pass (for 2006), he would," Colangelo told the Rocky Mountain News.

    Billups will compete with the team in the summers of 2007 and 2008.


    ~ Booth Newspapers ~

    Heat out to prove they're better than record indicates
    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    One of Rasheed Wallace's favorite phrases after an opponent misses a free throw is, "The ball don't lie."

    The same can be said about the Eastern Conference standings, in which Wallace's Detroit Pistons (41-8) have a decisive lead over Miami (30-20) for the conference's best record.

    That's why the Pistons anticipate the Heat will try to show today that the gap between the two isn't nearly as wide as their records might indicate.

    ~ Miami Herald ~

    SUNDAY FOCUS | RASHEED WALLACE
    Unfinished business
    Motivated by last season's Finals loss, Detroit's Rasheed Wallace has emerged as one of the NBA's best players.
    By Israel Gutierrez

    The reluctant All-Star stands sleepy-eyed in the Orlando Magic's TD Waterhouse Centre hallway holding his practice belongings in a fishnet sack and his large earphones resting just above his ears.

    Rasheed Wallace isn't eager to answer questions this early in the day, minutes before his team hits the floor for a morning shootaround, even if most are regarding his All-Star selection, Wallace's first in the Eastern Conference.

    In fact, the only emotion Wallace displays during this session is when the subject of his media responsibilities during All-Star Weekend arises.

    ''It's going to be terrible,'' Wallace says. ``I know I'm going to be sick of hearing those questions: `Can you guys win 70 games?'

    "Goodness gracious.''

    An early award look: Nash is still MVP
    By Israel Gutierrez

    It's just past the midseason point and just before the All-Star break. What better time to predict this season's award winners?

    MVP

    Canadian and Suns point guard Steve Nash gives his homeland reason to celebrate, with national icon Wayne Gretzky potentially staining his name with possible involvement in the NHL gambling scandal. Nash should win his second straight MVP trophy, and this one won't be nearly as controversial as last year, when many thought the Heat's Shaquille O'Neal was more deserving.

    The Suns have played the entire season without Amare Stoudemire and still lead their division. Nash's scoring average has increased by nearly four points from last season, his assists remained steady at 11 per game, and his shooting percentage is just a bit under 50 percent.

    ~ Miami Sun-Sentinel ~

    No overhaul needed for Pistons' machine
    By Michael Cunningham

    Ben Wallace flashes a sly smile and arches an eyebrow when discussing this new Heat team, a version so different from the one that pushed Wallace's Pistons near playoff elimination last spring.

    "Interesting," Wallace said. "Not like the old one. Last year they had a bunch of guys around [Shaquille O'Neal] and Dwyane [Wade] who knew their role and were able to complement [the stars'] games.

    Right now it is a struggle, like they still are trying to find themselves."

    The Heat has meandered along as a good team that so far is unconvincing as a true contender for the NBA title, the goal since O'Neal arrived two summers ago. The Heat got close the first season with O'Neal, pushing the Pistons to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals with both he and Wade gimpy.

    Trade chatter on rise under new CBA rules
    By Ira Winderman

    In recent years, the days and weeks before the NBA trading deadline mostly have been about empty chatter.

    This season, the Feb. 23 deadline could deliver more than idle talk.

    Beyond the annual discontent of underachieving teams and the angst of those with injury-ravaged rosters, there is a tangible difference this year, the first under the NBA's new collective-bargaining agreement.

    ~ Palm Beach Post ~


    Team unity vs. talent: Heat heavy on the latter
    Roster turnover may be why Miami can't beat top teams.
    By Chris Perkins

    Philosophies will collide today when the Detroit Pistons visit the Heat.

    The Pistons, NBA champions two years ago and finalists last season, have taken the slow, steady ascent to the top. They have kept their nucleus intact for four years, developed chemistry with a no-superstar system and now, even with a new coach, have the best record in the league at 41-8.

    The Heat has used blockbuster trades and free-agent signings to rebuild its foundation each of the past three seasons. Now Miami (30-20) has little on-court cohesion and regularly loses against the NBA's best, sometimes getting blown out.

    Timing is everything for aging free agent
    By Chris Perkins

    You rarely think much about guys such as Orlando's Kelvin Cato. But think about this: As the 32-year-old Cato sits on the Magic's bench, his injured right foot in a protective walking boot, millions of dollars are flying out the window.

    His career might follow soon.​

    Cato, a nine-year, rank-and-file player with average skills, is a free agent after the season. With this foot/ankle injury he can't showcase himself, and he can't be a part of helping a team win, therefore he can't make a case that any team needs him next season.


    ~ Salt Lake Tribune ~

    3 of 4 Pistons deserve All-Star on
    By Gordon Monson

    Too bad, Utah, that your Jazz don't play in the Eastern Conference.

    Consider:Four Detroit Pistons have been selected to play in the upcoming All-Star Game - only the second time in the last 23 years that has happened, by the way - yet the Jazz have already beaten this Dream Team twice.

    Hey, if Utah and Detroit reach the NBA Finals, is there any doubt how Janet Jones will be betting?

    Don't get me wrong: Detroit has a nice team. Joe Dumars has put together a group capable of winning another championship. The Pistons are better than two years ago, when they parlayed Karl Malone's knee injury and the exploding Shaq-Kobe feud into a Finals rout of the Lakers.

    But four All-Stars?

    ~ SI.com ~

    Heat seek turnaround against Pistons
    A/P

    One might wonder after their most recent game, a 112-76 meltdown Thursday at Dallas. The Heat's most lopsided loss this season left them 0-7 against the league's four top teams, magnifying the importance of Sunday's home game against the Detroit Pistons.​

    "We have the best team in the league coming in here,'' O'Neal said Saturday. "We have to do everything right, especially in our building. It's going to be an exciting place Sunday, and we look forward to stepping up to the challenge.''

    That would be a breakthrough, because such challenges have typically brought out the worst in the Heat. They have 0-2 records against Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio - the best of the West - and lost their only previous game against the Pistons in December.


    ~ Contra Costa Times ~

    All-Stars -- Pistons are not
    By Marcus Thompson II
    THE DETROIT PISTONS should not have four All-Stars.

    One is a no-brainer. Two is understandable. Three is pushing it, but arguments can be made. Four, that's an injustice.

    For the record, Chauncey Billups is an amazing point guard and Ben Wallace is the most dominant limited player in the game. Rasheed Wallace is one of the NBA's top all-around talents, and the league would be in better shape if kids patterned their game after Richard Hamilton's.

    That said, this romancing of the Pistons went too far when the Eastern Conference coaches voted all four on as reserves. While none of the Pistons were voted in by the fans, a few coaches admitted voting all five Detroit starters in as reserves.

    Yes, they're the best team in the NBA. Yes, they're a sight to see. No, they're not All-Stars. Not four of them. Here's three reasons why:


    ~ The Arizona Republic ~

    Cohesion of Pistons spurs envy
    By Paul Coro

    One was called a bust as the 1997 draft's No. 3 pick and people said he could not run the point for a team. Now with his fifth team, he is an MVP candidate.

    One went undrafted out of a Division II school and was traded twice. He is the best rebounder and interior defender in the league.

    One was too soft and skinny to thrive. He is the best midrange shooter in the game.

    One was a team cancer whose behavior couldn't be controlled. The versatile big man was the last piece needed for a 2004 NBA championship.

    They are all Detroit Pistons. They are all All-Stars. They are Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace.

    Detroit wound up with a trophy, two straight trips to the NBA Finals and this season's best record (41-8) by seeking players with hunger as much as talent. Even Tayshaun Prince (who lasted to No. 23 in the 2002 draft) and Antonio McDyess (written off because of his knees until a Phoenix renaissance) could fit into the Pistons' mold of players who came in hungry. Even the coach, Flip Saunders, was fired last season for mediocrity in Minnesota.​
  15. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    by Charlie Rosen
    Motor City meltdown?


    In a matter of days, the hitherto fore invulnerable Pistons lost three games — to the Nets, the Pacers, and the Hawks (!). Suddenly, there's no more blather about winning 70 games and being better a better team than MJ and the Jordanaires. Why the dramatic fall from grace?
    The long, exhausting season is one factor. It's extremely difficult for a team to play top-notch ball night after night, especially when all of their opponents are gunning for them. What better way to establish instant credentials than to beat the Pistons?
    Another factor is Detroit's short bench. Carlos Arroyo is a shooting guard in a point-guard's body. Maurice Evans is spectacularly talented but still undisciplined. That leaves Antonio McDyess as the only dependable sub.
    Also, the Pistons are still celebrating the unlocking of their individual offensive skills. Scoring is more fun than defending. And the team that scores the most points wins.
    Right?
    But the most significant factor is the penchant of too many Pistons to operate in cruise control on the defensive end. (Rasheed Wallace is the worst transgressor, with Ben Wallace not far behind.) Typically, they save their most aggressive lock-down defensive efforts for the end-game. However, allowing inferior teams to stay in the game is a dangerous tactic that's susceptible to a hot streak, a cold streak, or a bad call determining the outcome. Playing all-out all the time is the only way to prepare for the winning of a championship. For the Pistons, their playoff run to glory should start with the next opening tip-off of their next ball game.
  16. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 12th - Update

    ~ The Oakland Press ~

    Despite slumping, Heat remain scary
    By Dana Gauruder

    Looks can never deceive when Shaquille O'Neal appears.

    His hulking, menacing presence always makes an opponent feel like a giant killer, even if the Miami Heat seemed to have dozed through the first 3 1/2 months of the NBA season. ​


    Though the Pistons hold a 12-game lead in the loss column over the Heat, Detroit's closest competition in the Eastern Conference, they fully anticipate the giant will become beastly again during the postseason. A Miami victory today could signal a strong finish for the club that took the Pistons through a grueling seven-game series in the conference finals last season.
  17. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~ Detroit News ~~

    Wade has hot hand as Heat burn Pistons
    Detroit shrugs off game in which guard scores 37, including 17 straight, to erase a 13-point deficit.
    by Chris McCosky

    MIAMI -- The Miami Heat finally found a way to beat the Pistons on Sunday. All it took was for Dwyane Wade to turn into a character out of an X-box game.

    Zigging and zagging, spinning and flying, stopping and popping, Wade scored 17 straight points in the final 4:25 to lead the Heat out of a 13-point hole to a thrilling 100-98 victory.


    ~~ The Oakland Press ~~

    Two-headed monster defeats Pistons
    Miami rallies past Detroit with huge efforts from Wade, O'Neal
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - There are a couple of nightmare scenarios where the Pistons don't get back to the NBA Finals for a third straight season. The first involves untimely injuries. The other develops when the game's scariest duo tells their teammates to get out of the way and let them win it.

    Curtain No. 2 opened up Sunday.


    Heat expose Pistons' inside game
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - The Pistons have become a perimeter-oriented club, but they still have to score inside once in awhile. That point was driven home Sunday when they were outscored, 66-24, by Miami in the paint. A large reason for the disparity was Shaquille O'Neal's 31 points. Another was Detroit's lack of an inside presence.

    All but six of Rasheed Wallace's 15 field goal attempts came from beyond the 3-point line. A poor offensive showing by Tayshaun Prince also aided Miami's cause. Prince had his second consecutive 2-for-12 performance from the field.


    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~


    Pistons drop the ball in Miami
    Published by Matt Watson on February 12th, 2006 in Games.

    The Pistons lost a stomach-punch game to the Heat, allowing a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter to dwindle before losing by two. Dwyane Wade scored Miami's final 17 points to finish with a season-high 37 to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. Shaquille O'Neal scored 21 in the first half and finished with a season-high 31.

    It's hard to pin down what exactly went wrong for Detroit aside from a series of breakdowns late in the game. A team that scored 59 in the first half mustered just 39 in the second, including a dismal 14-point fourth. Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace all topped 20 points, but Tayshaun Prince shot just 2-12 from the field to finish with five, with a last-second three-point try to win clanging out to end the game. But the loss is hardly Tay-Tay's fault — the entire team just lost its flow in the fourth as Miami turned up the pressure to win their first game of the season against one of the league's top four teams.


    NY Times: Tay was almost an All-Star

    According to today's NY Times, Tay Tay had his fair share of supporters amongst the fourteen Eastern Conference coaches1 in their voting for All-Star reserves.


    ~~ Hoopsworld ~~

    Motown Soundtrack: It’s all in the game
    By Adriano Albuquerque

    Even if the Detroit Pistons did enough to get part of the world off their bandwagon for a while this week, allowing everyone to start praising the Dallas Mavericks instead, there were still enough coaches in the Soul Train to vote four Pistons to the All-Star Game. It was an honor that put this team in the same group as three Boston Celtics teams, two Los Angeles Lakers teams and the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers – all some of the greatest in history.


    ~~ Detroit Free Press ~~

    MIAMI 100, DETROIT 98: Heat's Wade smokes Pistons
    by KRISTA LATHAM

    MIAMI -- As Dwyane Wade scored 17 straight points for the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter, including the winning fadeaway jumper with 2.3 seconds left, the Heat bench cheered like mad along with the 20,000-plus fans at American Airlines Arena.

    On the other bench, the Pistons' stoic gaze never shifted. The players sat still in their chairs. They didn't react during Wade's countless jumpers, nor to the Pistons' few moments of success down the stretch.


    PISTONS CORNER: Inside game may need a second look
    by KRISTA LATHAM

    MIAMI -- Every so often, the question comes up.

    Are the Pistons relying too much on their outside game?

    The usual answer is that the Pistons take what defenses give them and that as long as those shots go in, there's no problem.


    ~~ Booth Newspapers ~~

    Inside the Pistons
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    INSIDE THE PISTONS

    A look at the Pistons heading into this week:

    Who's hot: Chauncey Billups continues to prove he's one of the NBA's best players this season. In four games during the last week, Billups averaged 19.5 points and 8.8 assists per game.


    Heat out to prove they're better than record indicates
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    MIAMI -- One of Rasheed Wallace's favorite phrases after an opponent misses a free throw is, "The ball don't lie."

    The same can be said about the Eastern Conference standings, in which Wallace's Detroit Pistons (41-8) have a decisive lead over Miami (30-20) for the conference's best record.

    That's why the Pistons anticipate the Heat will try to show today that the gap between the two isn't nearly as wide as their records might indicate.


    ~~ Miami Herald ~~

    An elite performance
    Dwyane Wade had 18 of his 37 points in the fourth as the Heat erased a 13-point deficit to earn its first win over one of the top teams in the NBA. 'It's important for our confidence,' Wade said.
    by ISRAEL GUTIERREZ

    No team, not even the best team; no trend, not even the most disappointing of trends; and no deficit, not even the most daunting of deficits, could hold down Dwyane Wade on Sunday afternoon.

    So if it took 17 points in a row from Wade to bring his team back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the best team in the league, that's what he would do.


    Heat beat Pistons = All is well?
    by Greg Cote

    The Heat beat the visiting Pistons today, 100-98, fueled by Dwyane Wade's remarkable 18-point fourth quarter -- ending Miami's 0-7 skid against the NBA' s best teams this season.

    Miami had been blown out on the road in its previous game, by Dallas. That result caused predictable hand-wringing and Pat Riley-bashing as the rats began to jump ship.Awade

    Does this win bring everything back? The disillusioned fans? The championship hopes?


    The Formula
    by ISRAEL GUTIERREZ

    I was talking to an Eastern Conference scout at halftime, one who hadn't seen the Heat play in a while, and he said he thought Dwyane Wade was better under Stan Van Gundy. I agreed and had been thinking this for a while.

    The reason is this: For all the experience Pat Riley has, which has helped him get Gary Payton and Antoine Walker more involved in games, he's not really one to let a guard go isolation possession after possession. He's more old school and wants to either go in the post or run some sort of play. But when Stan was coaching, especially in the playoffs last year, he wasn't afraid to just line up Dwyane against his defender and let him go to town. And as you saw in the playoffs, it worked -- A LOT!

    Well, look at the second half against the Pistons. Wade lined his guy up over and over, and it worked over and over again.


    Guard saves his best for last
    Dwyane Wade scored the Heat's final 17 points to outduel fellow All-Star Chauncey Billups to hand Detroit its ninth loss.
    by JOSEPH GOODMAN

    There's a reason Dwyane Wade will start in next week's All-Star Game. Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, Wade offered 17 pieces of evidence.

    Wade scored Miami's final 17 points, including the game-winner with 2.3 seconds to play in a 100-98 win against the Detroit Pistons, currently the NBA's best team.

    All-Star reserve Chauncey Billups, arguably the Pistons' best player, tried to the match Wade, but came up short.


    Riley dances around the pressure
    by ISRAEL GUTIERREZ

    Perhaps Pat Riley has spent a bit too much time watching ABC's Dancing with the Stars reality show of late.

    Because to help lighten the mood in his team's locker room Sunday afternoon, Riley unexpectedly broke into a 15-minute solo dance performance that easily took his players' minds off basketball. The tune? An unidentified Doobie Brothers song, possibly, Listen to the Music.

    The moves? No one is quite sure how to explain them.

    The motivation? It's all in the mind of Riley.


    ~~ Sun-Sentinel ~~

    Wade pushes Heat past Pistons
    by IRA WINDERMAN

    MIAMI -- This is the victory the Heat needed, and how it needed it.

    Down 13 at the start of the fourth quarter, and in position to drop yet another game to one of the league's elite, the Heat this time stepped up.

    Or, more to the point, guard Dwyane Wade stepped up.

    Sunday's 100-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons counts as only one game in the standings, as do all those previous nondescript victories against the NBA weak and feeble, the ones that had created doubts about a team playing .600 ball.


    SKOLNICK: Heat dances to its own soundtrack
    by Ethan J. Skolnick

    MIAMI -- Forget revamping the roster, seething about doubters and harping on defensive rotations. This was what it took for the Heat to start looking and feeling like the better team it was last season:

    A 60-year-old man needed to dance.

    If indeed that's what Pat Riley was doing for a tension-relieving 10 minutes, after cranking up the Doobie Brothers' Listen to the Music before Sunday's 100-98 victory against the Pistons.

    "I don't know what it was," Dwyane Wade said of the hapless hoofing and accompanying soundtrack.


    Wade puts final touch on Heat victory
    Winning shot in last seconds caps his record 17-point run
    by Ira Winderman

    MIAMI -- This is the victory the Heat needed, and how it needed it.

    Down 13 at the start of the fourth quarter, and in position to drop yet another game to one of the league's elite, the Heat this time stepped up.

    Or, more to the point, guard Dwyane Wade stepped up.


    ~~ Palm Beach Post ~~

    Commentary: One game doesn't alter perceptions
    by Greg Stoda

    MIAMI — The Heat is about sensational performance; the Pistons are about constant ones.

    Therein lies the primary difference between Miami's aspirations of greatness and Detroit's definition of it.


    Heat has flashback
    by Chris Perkins

    MIAMI — Games such as Sunday's are why many feel Heat guard Dwyane Wade is destined for greatness.

    It wasn't just that Wade scored a game-high 37 points. And it wasn't just that his game-winning jumper with 2.3 seconds left helped Miami overcome a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and ease a heavy burden by defeating Eastern Conference nemesis Detroit 100-98.


    Riley: Criticism wears on Heat
    by Chris Perkins

    MIAMI — Heat coach Pat Riley said Sunday that X's and O's aren't the biggest challenge to coaching this team, but rather it's addressing the mental burden it carried because it was losing to the NBA's best.

    "There's so much doubt out there about our team," Riley said. "I think we have a very, very good team. I believe we have a good team. I think they believe they are a very good team, but sometimes getting inundated with a lot of, 'We're not good enough; we're not there; this team is poorly constructed,' whatever it is, it sort of gets to guys after a while; so that's one of the biggest challenges."
  18. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 14th -

    ~ Detroit News ~

    Pistons: Notebook
    Saunders projects positivity
    Despite rocky stretch, coach feels good even as Spurs, Mavericks close in for top NBA record.
    By JoAnne C. Gerstner

    The Pistons have lost three of their last five games.

    So is it time to be concerned teams such as the Spurs and Mavericks are getting closer in the race for the NBA's top record?
    Or time to remember the Pistons are still 41-9, with one game to go before the All-Star break?
    Perhaps a little of both.

    "We feel good about ourselves, even with what happened (Sunday's loss in Miami)," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said Monday.

    "It was like pitching a perfect game, then hitting a guy in the ninth and giving up a homer and losing 2-1 with a one-hitter. There is no question that going into the All-Star break you get seven days off, even though some of the guys will be there, you clear your heads and then you basically come back and it's downhill for those last 31 games."

    Pistons Rap
    Risk taker
    As a player and in front office, Dumars never has feared failure
    By Chris McCosky

    Just because his team has the best record in basketball and is cruising toward a third straight appearance in the NBA Finals, don't think for a minute Joe Dumars has stopped looking for ways to improve.

    If Dumars has proved anything since he has taken control of basketball operations in the summer of 2000, it's he's not afraid to take risks.

    That is why he continues to pick up the phone and listen to offers from other teams as the Feb. 23 trade deadline looms. That is why last Friday in Orlando, he sat down with Magic assistant general manager Dave Twardzik to revisit a potential trade he had already turned down a month ago.

    Burning Questions
    Low-post options are abundant
    By Chris McCosky

    Burning questions as the Pistons head for the break with, well, questions:

    Q. Do you think the Pistons are going to have a problem in the playoffs because they are overly reliant on three-pointers?

    A. When the starting frontcourt was Ben Wallace and Cliff Robinson, and the only low-post threat on the team was reserve Corliss Williamson, that's when they had a problem.

    Now, with Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Tayshaun Prince, and even Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups, the Pistons don't lack low-post options.

    It was ugly in Miami.

    Shaq or no Shaq, the Pistons should never be outscored 66-24 in the lane. And it is true one of the consistent variables in games they have lost is they have shot poorly from the perimeter and not worked hard enough to get the ball inside to where they could at least get to the free-throw line.

    Will Thomas be bounced?
    Knicks president falters, making or pondering moves
    By Chris McCosky

    Sure, the Knicks have more money than basketball sense.

    Sure, they can withstand multimillion-dollar gaffes perhaps more comfortably than most other franchises.

    But as much money as they are hemorrhaging these days, and for so little return on the investment, you have to figure heads are going to start rolling -- and you would think the first head on the block would be Isiah Thomas.

    Alley-oop to ... Carlos Arroyo

    Joanne C. Gerstner's Top 5: Dunk-meisters

    Slam dunks

    Detroit News NBA Power Poll

    Pistons: Looking ahead


    ~ Detroit Free Press ~


    Billups not concerned with slide
    Orlando inquires about Milicic, Arroyo
    By Chris Silva

    After three losses in five games, the Pistons have a chance to start the All-Star break on a winning note tonight when they play the revived New Jersey Nets at the Palace. After tonight, the Pistons are off for a week.

    The All-Star game is Sunday at Houston.

    San Antonio and Dallas are closing in on the Pistons for the league's best record, but the Pistons' panic button is stored in a far-off place.

    Is it that important to head into the layoff with a victory? It depends on whom you ask.

    "I don't know if it's that important," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "We need to get the win, of course, just need to get back in the winning column, but I don't know if it's that important.


    ~ Booth Newspapers ~


    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    The Detroit Pistons are one of the NBA's best perimeter-shooting teams, and like most squads, they tend to play to their strengths.

    However, there's a growing sense that they need to do a better job scoring inside than they have lately.

    Considering they shoot so many 3-pointers, it's no surprise the Pistons are outscored inside, but not by that much.

    Point guard Chauncey Billups said the Pistons must do a better job of establishing an inside scoring presence early in games. However, he doesn't believe the team should be too concerned about it.


    In the last two games, the Pistons have been outscored in the lane, 110-54.



    ~ Orlando Sentinel ~

    By Jemele Hill

    New rule for future NBA All-Star Games: To be voted into the starting lineup, you must actually play for a team whose win total isn't around Lindsay Lohan's age.

    Detroit's Chauncey Billups and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki are serious MVP candidates. And when San Antonio's Tony Parker is putting up monster numbers and keeping the Spurs in the running to repeat as NBA champs.

    Funny how the most obvious snubs from this year's all-star squad come from playoff-bound teams -- the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony, the L.A. Clippers' Sam Cassell, and Tayshaun Prince, the only Pistons starter not on the all-star team.

    Anthony, the only top-10 scorer in the NBA not on an all-star team, is having his best season yet, and unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, he's been in the playoffs. Cassell has turned the Clippers -- perennial screw-ups -- into a threat to win the Pacific Division. And Prince could be the most versatile player on Detroit's roster.


    ~ The Oakland Press ~



    Pistons simply want to play well
    By Dana Gauruder

    Just a week ago, there was still talk about the Pistons winning 70 games. Three road losses later, the Pistons just want to head into the All-Star break feeling better about themselves.

    Dwyane Wade's imitation of Michael Jordan won't be the last impression they come away with before the break, but they still must contend with perhaps the league's best trio in Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson tonight.


    A home loss against New Jersey would give the Pistons a 2-4 record after a 39-6 start and jeopardize their league-leading record. They can already feel the hot breaths of San Antonio and Dallas, who have been quietly rolling along while the Pistons took their lumps against Indiana, Atlanta and Miami.


    ~ New York Daily News ~



    Nets fired up for Pistons rematch
    BY OHM YOUNGMISUK


    The Detroit Pistons have been a scary team this season, rolling through the league at a near record-setting pace. But Richard Jefferson says the Nets do not fear the best team in basketball as they enter The Palace of Auburn Hills tonight.

    After all, the Nets are the last Eastern Conference team to beat the Pistons in a playoff series, even if it did happen in 2003. They extended Detroit to a seventh game in 2004 when the Pistons won the title. And they defeated Detroit two weeks ago at home.

    Jefferson reiterated that the Pistons are the best team in the NBA. But he and the Nets (27-22) walk into this game feeling confident after they defeated them, 91-84, two weeks ago at the Meadowlands. The Nets had to turn in their finest defensive performance of the season. They played with the kind of intensity Lawrence Frank wishes for every game.

    But they also needed Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace to miss several shots at the end. The two shot a combined 11-for-38.


    ~ New York Post ~

    By Sam Blake

    The Nets this season are 1-1 against the 41-9 Pistons, but both of those games were in New Jersey. Kidd knows it will require something extra to beat the two-time defending Eastern Conference champs in their own building, where they have dropped only two games and have won nine straight since an OT loss to Utah on Jan. 7.

    "They're coming off a loss and I don't think they've had back-to-back losses all season," Kidd said of the Pistons, adding "we haven't played well on the road."

    Kidd was slightly off: The Pistons actually did drop back-to-back games, at Indiana and at Atlanta a week ago.
    The Nets captain, however, was dead-on in describing his own team's subpar performance away from the Meadowlands.
  19. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

    Joined:
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    Busy couple of days by Matt Watson and Ian Cameron over at Detroit Bad Boys. Just proves that a disappointing loss now and then brings back all of the passion, humour and repressed anxiety diehard fans possess.

    ~~ Detroit Bad Boys ~~

    Will Ben answer the bell?
    by Ian Cameron

    The All-Star break is almost here, and it probably couldn't come at a better time for the Pistons. While their rivals for the best record in the league (SA and the Mavs) are peaking, the Pistons have dropped 4 of their last 8, equaling their total number of losses in the previous 32 games. Team performance has been up-and-down, but one factor has been constant throughout the last 8–toughness is lacking. A very telling stat: the Pistons have been outrebounded in all but one of those 8 games (with the lone victory on the boards being the February 1 win over the T-Wolves).


    The Orlando Magic want Darko and Arroyo
    by Ian Cameron

    Whether or not you think Darko Milicic will ever be a productive big man in the NBA, the Pistons–and most importantly, Joe Dumars–seem ready to make it someone else's concern. Responding to questions about the ever-increasing Orlando trade rumors, Dumars had this to say to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News regarding a potential Darko swap:

    "If something doesn't work out, you have to move forward," he said, speaking in generalities. "You are going to make mistakes in this business. The key is to keep moving forward and correct the mistakes as quickly as you can."

    (micro: so now Joe is implying that drafting DMC was a mistake?)


    If the refrigerator ain’t broke, why fix it?
    by Matt Watson

    Rasheed Wallace was asked about why the Pistons have been able to maintain the same starting lineup for over 50 games.

    And he had a good answer, in typical Wallace style...


    Are Alex Acker and Amir Johnson going to the NBDL?
    by Matt Watson

    If you're like me, you're probably pretty curious what exactly the Pistons have in rookies Alex Acker and Amir Johnson. Trouble is, a team with the best record in the league rarely has an opportunity to put a couple of rookies on the active roster, let alone get them into a game.

    However, the time is nearing where those two players might finally get some playing time. . . in the NBDL.


    Still burnt by the Heat?
    by Matt Watson

    Well, take solace in the fact that now that the celebration has finally died down on South Beach, those that follow the team are admitting that perhaps the Heat isn't all that hot...
  20. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    February 15th -

    ~ Detroit News ~


    Pistons 85, Nets 71
    Pistons prove doubters wrong
    Nets forward Jefferson said Detroit had 'come down to Earth' before his team's lopsided loss.
    By Chris McCosky

    Coach Flip Saunders has surrendered to the reality that, no matter how much success his Pistons team might have, somebody will always find something to complain about.

    "It's a funny thing," he said before the Pistons put an 85-71 whipping on the New Jersey Nets Tuesday. "At the beginning of the season when we were playing well, everybody said they didn't want us to play like that so early because we wouldn't have anything left for the playoffs.

    "Now that we've lost a couple of games, they are saying we've lost it."

    Fantasy basketball
    Individuals on bad teams might help save a season
    By Sean Baligian

    It's the All-Star break, and you're in crisis mode.
    Don't worry. You still have time to save your season.
    But don't be fooled by the good teams.
    While it's only natural to look at the decent players on good teams, don't look past the many decent players on the bad teams.
    With that in mind, let's take a look at some players competing for bad teams that could turn your season around.


    ~ Detroit Free Press ~


    Big ups to Billups

    Pistons' priceless point guard voted Michigan's Best
    By Krista Latham

    At one time, the disappointments in Chauncey Billups' career grew like a pile of dirty plates after a banquet, one on top of another, until the rickety stack nearly toppled to the floor.

    That was the day Billups, the Pistons' All-Star point guard, almost gave up on his dream.

    It was 2000, and Billups, just 23, found himself traded to the fourth team of his young NBA career, the Orlando Magic. He brought with him a shoulder injury that ensured he wouldn't play the rest of that season.

    And he knew the Magic likely would opt not to keep him at season's end, so he would move on to his fifth team in four seasons.

    Pistons his break with win
    run in 3rd makes them 42-9 at turn
    By George Sipple

    In the final game before the All-Star break, Richard Hamilton, celebrating his 28th birthday, got an unexpected rest.

    Hit with his fourth foul early in the third, Hamilton saw his teammates go on a 14-0 run in the third quarter en route to an 85-71 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night at the Palace.

    "I thought I was going to have an early vacation, to tell you the truth," said Hamilton, who received a technical in the second quarter but finished with 18 points.

    The Pistons (42-9) appropriately wore their red jerseys in the Valentine's Day game and are 7-0 in their alternate duds.

    Milicic-to-Magic deal not done yet
    Agent: Darko just wants to play
    By Krista Latham

    Backup center Darko Milicic hasn't demanded a trade, said his New York-based agent, Marc Cornstein. But Cornstein said Tuesday that Milicic wants to be somewhere he will have an opportunity to play.

    Milicic could get that opportunity.

    The Orlando Magic has offered injured center Kelvin Cato and a first-round draft pick for Milicic and backup point guard Carlos Arroyo, whose minutes have decreased this season.

    ESPN.com reported late Tuesday, citing anonymous NBA sources, that the deal appeared close to completion.

    The Orlando Magic has offered the Pistons Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick for Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo.

    POINT COUNTERPOINT: Should the Pistons deal Darko?


    TEAMMATES: Winter Olympics thoughts

    The stars are coming out -- even the B and C list ones


    ~ Booth Newspapers ~


    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    Trying to stay focused can be a major challenge for NBA players in the last game before the All-Star Game break.

    Instead of concentrating on filling the lane, many are thinking more about flying to some balmy desert island for the rest of this week.

    Pistons coach Flip Saunders readily admitted he was concerned about that prior to Tuesday's game against New Jersey.

    Those concerns were put to rest quickly as the Pistons pulled away in the second half for an 85-71 win.

    Pistons contemplating trading Milicic, Arroyo to Magic
    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    Detroit's 85-71 win against New Jersey on Tuesday was like most nights for Pistons reserve center Darko Milicic.

    He sat on the Pistons bench for most of the game, hoping that his opportunity to get serious playing time in the NBA would come.
    Milicic, who was scoreless in four minutes, may get his wish.

    The Pistons are pondering whether to trade him, along with guard Carlos Arroyo, to the Orlando Magic in exchange for center Kelvin Cato (and his expiring contract) and the Magic's first-round selection in June's NBA draft.


    ~ The Oakland Press ~


    By Dana Gauruder

    Life's defining moments collided in a sweaty pile before the Pistons reached the All-Star break. Another sellout Palace crowd witnessed a wedding, a birthday and a burial in less than three hours.

    A nervous couple was married on the court during halftime, but the Pistons gave their fans an even bigger kiss off. They finished off their pre-All-Star lovefest with the home crowd by winning their ninth straight at The Palace, shoveling the Nets underneath the floorboards, 85-71, on Tuesday.

    Bouncing back with authority after their fourth-quarter collapse in Miami on Sunday, the Pistons had three players achieve double-doubles as they headed into the break with a league-best 42-9 record.

    Darko's agent keeps eye on trade rumors
    By Dana Gauruder

    Darko Milicic walked into the Pistons locker room Tuesday night sporting a buzz cut. The buzz about Milicic's future with the Pistons is drawing even more attention.

    Milicic, cooler head and all, could be wearing another uniform after the trade deadline Feb. 23. The Pistons are mulling a couple of offers for Milicic, who hadn't played in the past six games entering Tuesday.


    One very public rumor involves a proposal by Orlando to trade Kelvin Cato's expiring contract and a first-round pick for Milicic and point guard Carlos Arroyo.
    The Pistons would like to gain salary-cap relief in order to re-sign Ben Wallace, who becomes a free agent in July, and Chauncey Billups, who will opt out of his contract after next season. They'd also like to get a quality young player in return, one already in the league or a high lottery pick.



    ~ New York Daily News ~


    Nets sputter in Motown
    Vince cold in latest road loss
    By OHM YOUNGMISUK

    About six minutes into last night's game, Vince Carter walked off the floor complaining about how he couldn't breathe.


    "It felt like I was playing with a ton of bricks on my chest," Carter said of a cold he was fighting.

    About two quarters later, the Nets' offense was gasping for air against the Pistons' suffocating defense. Detroit closed the third quarter with a 22-4 blitz to turn a three-point game into an 85-71 rout at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

    "We fell asleep at the wheel," Jason Kidd said.
    It was not a Valentine's Day to remember for the Nets. For the occasion, the Pistons wore their red uniforms, forcing the Nets to play in their home whites.


    ~ New York Times ~


    Nets Rejected in Bid to Join the Elite
    By DAVID PICKER

    Vince Carter sat on the Nets' bench early in the fourth quarter looking as if he had been punched in the gut. Next to him was Jason Kidd, who looked as if he had taken a hit to his pride.

    The blows were delivered by the Detroit Pistons, who coasted to an 85-71 victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday night.

    The Nets (27-23) were hoping to prove they belonged among the N.B.A.'s elite. The loss was a stinging setback.
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