December 2005 Pistons Articles

Discussion in 'Pistons Archive' started by Zoso, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. detteam

    detteam All-Star

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  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~Detroit News~~

    Isiah still has soft spot for Pistons
    Once-icy relationship between Thomas and the organization has thawed.
    by Terry Foster

    AUBURN HILLS-- Isiah Thomas kept telling himself not to cry. But when he saw images of himself during a video tribute at The Palace earlier this month, he choked up, left the arena and broke down.

    "Don't do it," he kept telling himself.

    But it didn't work.


    Defense still Pistons' forte
    Despite better offense, team can still shut down opponents
    by Chris McCosky

    Q. The Pistons played a strong defensive game against the Spurs but they are still giving up more points than they did last season. Don't you think that is going to be a concern later in the season?

    A. No I don't, nor do I think the Pistons have somehow sacrificed their defensive identity because they are playing at a faster pace and scoring more points......


    Spotlight misses Pistons
    Where's national love for team that's off to 22-3 start?
    by Chris McCosky

    AUBURN HILLS-- Can anyone explain to me why the Pistons' 22-3 start hasn't generated more buzz around the league?

    There have only been three better starts in NBA history. Last year, Phoenix bolted to a 22-3 start and was a national story all season. Three Suns were picked to the All-Star team. Steve Nash was named league MVP.

    The Pistons can't even get a player-of-the-week honor.


    Alley oop to Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter
    by Joanne C. Gerstner

    Q. Best sports movie of all time?
    A. That's a hard one, there are a couple I like, but I'd have to say right now "Remember the Titans". That ranks at the top because it's so good.
    Q. Because of the emotion? It's really a movie even nonsports fans could like.
    A. Exactly.


    ~~Detroit Free Press~~

    PISTONS CORNER: Teamwork, Big Ben lead to win streak
    by Krista Latham

    The Pistons haven't lost a game in two weeks, not since a bad second half against the Utah Jazz did them in on Dec. 12.

    Since then, they have won seven straight games, and only one -- the double-overtime thriller against Memphis -- was really close.


    ~~The Oakland Press~~

    As Big Ben goes ...
    Pistons' universe still revolves around the man in the middle
    By Dana Gauruder

    AUBURN HILLS - Chauncey Billups can make all the right decisions. Rasheed Wallace can point all of a hostile crowd's taunts in his direction. Richard Hamilton can pound out an endless drum beat of 15-foot jumpers. Tayshaun Prince can exasperate one high scorer after another with his length and quickness.

    While all those elements are major components to their success, the Pistons know that their universe still revolves around the man in the middle. Ben Wallace's boundless energy and uncompromising tenacity separates the team from the rest of David Stern's galaxy.


    ~~Booth Newspapers~~

    Pistons veterans will be ready when called on
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    AUBURN HILLS -- Patience.

    As NBA players get older, it becomes more of a necessity in order to stick around.

    Detroit Pistons center/forward Dale Davis knows this all too well.


    ~~San Antonio Express News~~

    For Spurs, welcome road leads home
    by Johnny Ludden

    As Tim Duncan started to leave the visitors' locker room Sunday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, he looked back at a slower-moving teammate.

    "Let's go, French Boy," Duncan said. "I want to get home."

    Tony Parker quickly wrapped up his interview, allowing the Spurs to jet home for Christmas dinner. Unlike their previous stopovers, they get to stay a while this time.
  3. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    "French Boy" ?
  4. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    Here's a few more articles from today's Detroit News DetroitPistons.com and USA Today

    ~ Detroit news ~


    Notebook: 'Sheed's schedule
    By Chris McCosky

    'Sheed's schedule

    Eventually, Rasheed Wallaceis going to have to fly to Philadelphia to tend to the funeral for his cousin, Tyree Wallace, 22, who was shot and killed last week.

    "Yeah, I don't know when yet, though," he said.

    The Pistons were off Monday and play host to Toronto today and Miami on Thursday.

    "We will just have to wait and see what happens," coach Flip Saunderssaid. "Maybe he won't have to miss any games, but we don't really know."

    Joanne C. Gerstner's Top 5: Scoring from afar
    five of the top scoring international players in the NBA

    Basketball 101: Larry Bird exception
    By Chris McCosky

    For the most part, it's a fairly straightforward wrinkle in the rules governing the salary cap in the NBA.

    The Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free-agent, up to the maximum salary level. Players who played with that team for parts of three season are eligible.

    Ben Wallace will fall under this umbrella when he becomes a free agent this summer.

    Here's where it gets a little tricky, though.

    Take the case of Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic.

    He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and he is a very happy camper with the Sonics. His playing time has diminished, which is greatly affecting his leverage for a new contract.

    Slam Dunks

    Next Five Games


    ~ DetroitPistons.com ~

    20 questions with Joe Dumars
    Pistons fans asked, Joe D. Answer

    ~ USA Today ~


    Saunders' adjustments have Pistons playing their best
    By David DuPree

    This has been the season of the coach as much as any in NBA history with the return of Phil Jackson and Pat Riley and 11 teams making changes since the end of last season. But the coach who has done the best job is Flip Saunders of the Detroit Pistons.

    Saunders came in and tweaked an already great team, adding a zone defense and a more open offense to keep things fresh while not completely overhauling things.

    He exudes calm and confidence on the sideline, and his team plays the same way. The Pistons show little outward emotion and are always coolest in the hottest of situations.
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    December 28th

    ~~Detroit News~~

    Raptors are easy prey
    Detroit plays complete game and dominates Toronto in every facet, running record to 23-3.
    by Joanne C. Gerstner

    AUBURN HILLS -- It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this outcome.

    The Pistons outshot, outrebounded, outmuscled and had more assists than the Raptors Tuesday at The Palace.

    And yes, the Pistons steamrolled the Raptors, 113-106.


    Pistons bench players answer their critics
    Evans scores 13 and McDyess 12 to help quiet Detroit's critics in a decisive win over Toronto.
    by Joanne C. Gerstner

    AUBURN HILLS-- Despite the Pistons' NBA-best 23-3 record, fans and analysts continue to search for flaws.

    The popular target has been the Pistons bench, with the peanut gallery questioning its offense.



    ~~Detroit Free Press~~

    DETROIT 113, TORONTO 106: No relaxing vs. Raptors
    Pistons rack up 63 first-half points
    by Chris Silva

    Credit the Toronto Raptors for pushing the Pistons to the end, for keeping up with them even when the game seemed to get lopsided.

    This was the team with the worst record in the league facing the team with the best mark.



    PISTONS CORNER: Peterson is an iron man for Raptors
    by Chris Silva

    The last time he wasn't on the court for the Toronto Raptors was more than three years ago.

    The former Michigan State star played in his 417th game as a Raptor against the Pistons on Tuesday, tying him with Alvin Williams for the most games played in franchise history.

    Peterson, who was the 21st pick of the 2000 draft, has seen it all on the only professional team for which he's played.


    ~~Booth Newspapers~~

    Ben requires stitches, but could've returned
    By Danny Knobler

    AUBURN HILLS Ben Wallace got hit on the face. He hit the back of his head, too. He needed five stitches.

    Don't worry. He's fine.

    Wallace missed the last 14-??nutes of Tuesday night's 113-106 Detroit Pistons win over Toronto, but he could have played. And he will play Thursday night, when the Pistons host Shaquille O'Neal and Miami.


    Pistons match pace with 96 Bulls for best record ever
    By Danny Knobler

    Next game Thursday night vs. Miami, 8. TNT-TV.

    AUBURN HILLS Now all they have to do is keep winning until February.

    Or until June.


    ~~The Oakland Press~~

    Stay the course
    Pistons continue their roll in rout of Raptors
    By BILL ROOSE

    AUBURN HILLS - Big wins can often - to a coach's chagrin - produce even bigger disappointments.

    And following a huge nationally televised win over San Antonio on Christmas Day, Pistons coach Flip Saunders was anxious to see just how his troops would respond Tuesday to a lesser opponent than the defending NBA champion Spurs.

    Fret not.


    Peterson becomes senior Raptor
    By BILL ROOSE

    AUBURN HILLS - He already holds a number of Toronto records. On Tuesday, former Michigan State swingman Morris Peterson tied another: most games played in a Raptors' uniform.

    In his sixth season, Peterson, who graduated from Flint Northwestern in 1995 and helped the Spartans win the 2000 national championship, has played 417 games for Toronto, tying guard Alvin Williams for most games in franchise history.


    ~~Toronto Star~~

    Raps get a lesson in how to win
    Pistons show why they lead league
    Bosh scores career-high 37 points
    by Doug Smith


    AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—The final score once again flattered the losers — the game was over long before the final minutes ticked away as the Raptors found out last night what a really good NBA team plays like, looks like and acts like.

    Hammered in a second quarter that was little more than a display of men against boys, Toronto suffered a 113-106 loss to the Detroit Pistons, a verdict that underscored just how far the Raptors have to go to even be competitive on one night against the top team in the league.


    NBA Notes: Mitchell's a Billups booster
    Piston played for Rap boss in Minny
    Rose draws crowd at hometown game
    by Doug Smith

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—There are few people in the NBA Sam Mitchell is closer to than Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, so it makes the Raptors coach feel good to see his protegé doing so well.

    "Just to see Chauncey evolve, he gets it," said Mitchell, who coached Billups in Minnesota.

    "He's kind of figured out the toughest thing for a point guard: when to shoot and when to pass and when to try to take over a game."


    ~~Toronto Sun~~

    Raps get Darko calls
    Bosh's career-high 37 points not enough
    By STEVE BUFFERY

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell will not respond to catcalls and insults from hostile crowds.

    But did he ever have to bite his tongue last night.

    As the Raptors fell further behind the defending Eastern Conference champions at the loud and intimidating Palace of Auburn Hills, a group of well-lubricated fans near the visitors' bench began laying into the coach.

    The most devastating jibe came from one courtside comedian who yelled: "Sam, you guys are so bad, the Pistons are going to put in Darko Milicic!"

    -
  6. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    December 29 -

    ~ Detroit News ~

    Pistons' rivals are still heated
    Pistons are 'measuring stick' for Miami, which remembers sting of being booted from '05 playoffs.
    By Chris McCosky


    It's not just another regular-season game; not when it's Miami, and Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade and now Pat Riley on the bench.

    It's never going to be just another game again, not after last season's knock-down, drag-out, seven-game Eastern finals.

    "It's always good when the top teams play," Chauncey Billups said of tonight's game at The Palace. "You always look forward to that. Obviously, we have some history with that team being in that tough, grind-it-out series last year. It's going to be fun."

    Heat's housecleaning leaves Pistons puzzled
    Players believe Miami added new pieces such as Walker, Williams, Payton to compete with Detroit.
    By Chris McCosky

    The Pistons didn't understand it at the time, and they don't really understand it now.

    Why did the Miami Heat, a team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season and came within minutes of winning the conference championship, feel the need to rework their roster?

    "I was surprised," Richard Hamilton said. "They just lost (Game 7 to the Pistons) in the last couple of minutes and they had one of the best records in the NBA, then they switched everything up. I guess they felt they had to get better."

    ~ Detroit Free Press ~

    Rivalry heats up in East
    Pistons low-key; Heat stoked
    By Krista Latham

    Asked Wednesday whether he and his teammates noticed as national sports pundits nearly unanimously picked the Miami Heat to finish in front of the Pistons before this season, Chauncey Billups stuck out his chin and nodded slowly.

    Asked whether that would be in the back of his mind tonight, when the Pistons and Heat meet for the first time since the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Pistons point guard quickly switched gears and shook his head no.

    "Nah, I don't think about that at all," Billups said. "I think everyone has changed up by now."

    They certainly have. The Pistons are 23-3 and are playing the best basketball in the league.

    Matching Bulls' run looks tough
    By Krista Latham

    Ten seasons ago, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a 23-3 start, the same record the Pistons enjoy entering tonight's game against the Miami Heat.

    But for as well as the Pistons have played to this point, it's hard to imagine them matching the Bulls' torrid pace in that 1995-96 season.

    After losing their third game of the season, those Bulls rattled off 18 straight victories to improve to 41-3, the best start by an NBA team. The Bulls finished 72-10, the best record by an NBA team.

    Chicago won from Dec. 29, 1995, until Feb. 4, 1996, when the Denver Nuggets ended the streak. The Bulls also set an NBA record with 44 consecutive victories at home spanning two seasons.

    ~ The Oakland Press ~

    Heat still chasing Pistons
    By Dana Gauruder

    Extreme makeovers happen all the time in the NBA. Bad and mediocre clubs constantly change personnel to make themselves more presentable.

    Teams that win 59 regularseason games and reach the conference finals usually opt for just a little touchup. Not the Miami Heat, who have spent the last six months fidgeting like a paranoid diva on a caffeine high.

    They've got new hair - Pat Riley's slicked back look, to be exact - and some expensive new jewelry - Jason Williams, Gary Payton, Antoine Walker and James Posey.

    All those changes were designed to catch up to their main rival, the Detroit Pistons. At least that's what the Pistons believe.

    ~ Booth Newspapers ~

    Pistons aren't shooting for Bulls record
    By Danny Knobler

    Even the Detroit Pistons can't imagine 41-3.

    "How many games?'' Richard Hamilton asked Wednesday, when the Chicago Bulls' NBA-record start of 10 seasons ago was mentioned. "Man, that's crazy. I'll tell you, that's crazy. Just to think of it, or look at it.''

    The Pistons have matched the record-setting Bulls through 26 games, with a 23-3 record. But there are too many games on the schedule like tonight's, a meeting with Miami at The Palace, for the Pistons to think of 41-3.

    Not that the Pistons expect to lose to the Heat, who they'll meet for the first time since last spring's seven-game Eastern Conference finals. The Pistons don't ever expect to lose to anyone, especially not now.

    ~ Miami Herald ~

    Tonight a 'measuring stick' for Heat
    Miami made major changes to a team that won 59 games last season in the hopes that the moves will better prepare the Heat against the Pistons.
    By Israel Gutierrez

    The way Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups sees it, the 2005-06 Heat team is what it is because of him and his Pistons teammates.

    ''There was no other reason for them to change,'' Billups said Wednesday in Detroit. ``They won [59] games, and the only team they struggled with was us [last season]. So, I have to figure they made those changes to get past us.''

    If that's the case, then tonight's game between the Heat and Pistons is more than just an emotional rematch between combatants in last year's seven-game Eastern Conference finals. It's more than the Heat's chance to end the Pistons' eight-game win streak and extend its modest streak to three. It's more than a chance to continue the progress it has made under Heat coach Pat Riley.

    ~ Miami Sun-Sentinel ~

    Heat rebuilt for one reason: Detroit
    By Ira Winderman

    When it comes to key dates on the NBA schedule, Heat coach Pat Riley admits to breaking out his Sharpie.

    "We do circle the calendar," he said, "maybe 10 or 15 games a year that are significant."

    His players, by contrast, need far less ink.

    Seemingly every move the Heat made in the offseason, every adjustment, came with one team in mind -- the Detroit Pistons.

    Tonight, the Heat opens its four-game season series against the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

    It is the first regular-season meeting between the teams since Detroit came back in the final two minutes to win Game 7 of last season's Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena and advance to the NBA Finals against the Spurs.

    ~ Palm Beach Post ~

    Soaring Pistons provide true test
    By Chris Perkins

    The Heat played The Big Game on Christmas against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Tonight, the Heat plays The Really Big Game when it visits Detroit, the NBA's best team and the team that dealt Miami a painful knockout punch in last season's playoffs.

    "We do circle the calendar (for) maybe 10 or 15 games a year that are significant," Heat coach Pat Riley said.

    This one certainly qualifies.

    The Pistons are 23-3, and on pace to challenge the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' NBA-record 72-10 season. Chicago also was 23-3 after 26 games.

    Detroit is on an eight-game win streak and playing its usual aggressive defense, ranking sixth in points allowed at 91.1 per game. But now that Flip Saunders has replaced Larry Brown as coach, the once low-scoring Pistons also are sixth in the league in scoring (99.7 ppg) and lead the league in three-point shooting (41 percent).​




  7. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    New Year's resolutions

    Target practice: Spurs, Pistons set the standard

    Having defined the team concept, Detroit and San Antonio are franchises to emulate in 2006, writes Steve Kerr.

    2006 resolutions
  8. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    ESPN's Daily Dime

    Pistons going 70? Not so fast
    By Royce Webb

    It's the hottest question in the NBA that doesn't involve Ron Artest: Can the Detroit Pistons, now 23-3, win 70 games?

    An even spicier question: Can they match or top the greatest regular-season team in history, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who were not only the first team to win 70 games but finished at an almost untouchable 72-10?

    It sounds a little preposterous, considering this same Pistons squad won only 54 games each of the two years (before making two amazing runs to the NBA Finals, winning it all in 2004).

    But the Pistons are on a 73-win pace, so it's time to take a closer look
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ~~Miami Herald~~

    Loss leaves Heat with empty feeling
    Chauncey Billups scored 30 points, including a number of clutch, fourth-quarter shots, as the Pistons handed the Heat a 'frustrating' loss.
    BY ISRAEL GUTIERREZ

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - With the outcome all but decided, Udonis Haslem was kicking and punching the air, yelling at no one in particular and releasing a fit of rage normally reserved for postseason and must-win games.

    This game against the Pistons didn't feel like a normal regular-season game for Haslem or any of his Heat teammates. That's why Thursday's 106-101 loss to the Pistons at the Palace easily was the most aggravating loss of the season.


    ~~South Florida Sun Sentinel~~

    Heat goes cold against Pistons
    By Michael Cunningham

    Auburn Hills, Mich. · This didn't look anything like the Eastern Conference finals.

    In fact, the Heat-Pistons rematch Thursday didn't even look like a playoff preview, assuming the defensive intensity will crank up like usual in the postseason. The Pistons didn't pull away until they finally answered the crowd's chants of "Defense!" for more than one or two Heat possessions at a time.


    ~~Palm Beach Post~~

    Denial in Detroit
    By Chris Perkins

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — They did it again.

    The Detroit Pistons, the team that eliminated the Heat from the playoffs last season, defeated the Miami 106-101 Thursday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in a playoff-quality atmosphere.

    And the Pistons (24-3) did it once again with Heat center Shaquille O'Neal not being a big offensive factor late in the game. O'Neal finished with 26 points but he was just 2-for-3 from the field in the fourth quarter.


    ~~Detroit News~~


    Pistons' win streak hits nine
    Detroit shows the Heat who's hottest team in NBA
    By Chris McCosky

    AUBURN HILLS — The coaches are different. There are a couple of new faces on each bench and maybe a few more points on the scoreboard.

    But when you get right to the guts of it, nothing really has changed.


    Harper likens Pistons to 72-win Bulls team
    Assistant who played on '95-96 Chicago team says Detroit has chance to reach that plateau.

    AUBURN HILLS — Ron Harper is rooting for the Pistons to challenge his 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls record of 72 victories. No, really, he is.

    “I tell these guys to take it one game at a time and anything can happen,” said Harper, who was a starting guard opposite Michael Jordan on that legendary Bulls team. “And if it happens, I will be happy. Because that would mean that I did it twice — once as a player and once as a coach.”


    ~~Detroit Free Press~~

    DETROIT 106, MIAMI 101: Same result
    Pistons deliver in Eastern rematch
    BY KRISTA LATHAM

    It was a late December game masquerading as a playoff game, with a Palace crowd so frenzied that even Pistons coach Flip Saunders wished he had been sitting in the stands.

    And here's betting it won't be the only closely contested, intense battle between the Pistons and the Miami Heat this season.


    Pistons might be on to something truly special
    BY DREW SHARP

    They keep rolling along, pushing aside their flirtation with history with their words, while their actions keep pulling them a little closer to something truly remarkable.

    The Pistons now are 24-3.

    Let that rattle around in your imagination a little bit.


    PISTONS CORNER: Billups, Rip lagging in balloting
    BY KRISTA LATHAM

    The second round of fan voting for the NBA All-Star game released Thursday shows that the Pistons' backcourt stars still have a ways to go if they're to earn starting nods for the game in Houston in February.

    Point guard Chauncey Billups had 258,106 votes and ranked No. 5 among Eastern Conference guards, behind Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. Pistons shooting guard Richard Hamilton had 192,200 votes and was eighth on the list. Iverson had 1,144,250 votes and Wade had 827,913.


    ~~Booth Newspapers~~

    Pistons top Heat 106-101 in a game with playoff feel
    By A. Sherrod Blakely
    AUBURN HILLS - Moments before Detroit stepped on to The Palace floor to host Miami on Thursday, Ben Wallace pulled a red mouthpiece out of a small case.

    "I normally don't wear it until the playoffs," he said.


    Pistons' bench plays pivotal role in victory
    By A. Sherrod Blakely
    AUBURN HILLS - As the media clustered around Detroit starters Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince following the Pistons' 106-101 win over Miami, it was as if Antonio McDyess, who was seated in the middle of the crowd, was non-existent.

    Being overlooked has become a common trend for McDyess and the rest of the Detroit Pistons bench, a unit that played a pivotal in the Pistons extending their winning streak to a season-high nine in a row on Thursday.


    ~~The Oakland Press~~

    Despite start, Pistons not chasing Bulls' 72
    By DANA GAURUDER

    AUBURN HILLS - Mention the NBA record for most victories and the Pistons shrug their shoulders. They are not thinking at all about the 1995-96 Bulls, who won a record 72 regular-season games.

    Though the Pistons are off to a franchise record start, keeping pace with those Bulls would be nearly impossible. Both teams had 23-3 records after the first 26 games, but Chicago followed that with an 18-game winning streak. Just to stay even, the Pistons needed to finish out December with wins over Miami and Cleveland, sweep their 15 games in January and defeat Minnesota on Feb. 1.
  10. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    I like that Michael Cunningham game account in the Sun Sentinel. Tough, objective view of where both teams excelled and fell short.
  11. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    Pat Caputo article from today's Oakland Press

    Heat are good, but not as good as Pistons
    By Pat Caputo

    Yeah. It got loud Thursday night at The Palace. Really loud. It took a jumper from just inside the 3-point line by Tayshaun Prince with the shot clock going down, followed by Ben Wallace throwing one of Shaquille O'Neal's infamous power inside moves right back into his mug, to start it.

    It led to a fast-break dunk by Prince at the other end of the floor. And incredible noise, playoff volume, a real Eastern Conference finals-type racket - in the dead of winter. Out went apathy. In went pandemonium.

    It was an intimidating environment. The Heat were not intimidated. But it was evident that the Pistons, who withstood every flurry with remarkable aplomb, are the better team. Their 106-101 victory didn't leave much room for dispute.

    The Heat have a lot of talent. If anything, they have gone to overkill in that area. The Pistons' story, however, remains unchanged. The sum of their parts continues to trump the individual talent of the Heat - and every other team.
  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    One more

    Motown Soundtrack: Beat it

  13. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    December 31st -

    ~ Detroit Free Press ~

    21: Cavaliers phenom James now has age to match his game
    By Krista Latham

    The NBA's most famous man-child graduated to full-fledged manhood this week.

    LeBron James, former high school phenom and current answer to NBA marketing prayers, turned 21 on Friday.

    Today, the Pistons will give the Cavaliers' All-Star forward his first test as an official adult in their matinee matchup at Cleveland.

    The Pistons don't want him to celebrate New Year's Eve with his first legal dose of champagne, and they know the Cavaliers will be looking to end 2005 with a victory that makes a statement. The Pistons are prime targets with their NBA-best 24-3 record.

    Despite 24-3, team has room for improvement
    By Shannon Shelton

    As the Pistons' hype machine gains power, some in the organization are trying to remain a little more grounded.

    Thursday's 106-101 victory over Miami gave the Pistons a nine-game winning streak and 24-3 record, but players and coaches say there are still areas of concern and weaknesses that should be addressed.

    "Everyone can get better," coach Flip Saunders said Friday. "You can always get better rebounding-wise. The toughest thing in our league is, with the way the rules have changed from last year, where you have to contain people out on the perimeter, and you can't touch people. That's always something that's very difficult."

    ~ Booth Newspapers ~

    Opponents change rosters, but Pistons look after themselves
    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    Most of the teams in the Eastern Conference got a reality TV-like makeover during the offseason in efforts aimed to close the growing gap between themselves and the Detroit Pistons.

    Team rosters may look different, but the Pistons' dominance in the East appears to be as strong as ever.

    "They're the team," Miami Heat coach and team president Pat Riley said shortly before Detroit defeated his team, 106-101, on Thursday. "They're the team to beat, no ifs, ands or buts."

    The latest Detroit opponent to sport a new-look roster is the Cleveland Cavaliers, which added key players this to surround their best player, all-star LeBron James.

    Pistons coach Flip Saunders believes the changes made by Cleveland (17-10) have catapulted it to being among the top teams in the East. The Cavs come into today's game with the second-best record in the East, trailing Detroit by seven games in the Central Division.

    ~ The News-Herald ~

    Detroit casting a long shadow
    other NBA teams' outcasts are red-hot Pistons treasures

    The Pistons have made a living at picking up other team's mistakes and turning them into treasure.

    The teams with the top two records in the Eastern Conference will clash at 1:30 p.m. today at Quicken Loans Arena (WUAB). The Pistons come in with an NBA-best 24-3 mark, while the Cavaliers are 17-10.

    The amazing thing about the Pistons, at least in Cavaliers coach Mike Brown's estimation, is the job Detroit president Joe Dumars has done assembling talent.

    "Joe Dumars deserves more credit than he gets," Brown said. "Everyone in their top six players has been castoffs from other teams."

    ~ Akron Beacon Journal ~


    Cavaliers geared up for big test vs. Pistons
    Brown deems Detroit's starting five best ever
    By Brian Windhorst

    It's measuring day.

    In the standings, the Cavaliers are in second place in the Eastern Conference, about an eon behind the Detroit Pistons. The gap on the floor will be displayed today.

    The Pistons, winners of nine consecutive games, come calling for an afternoon date at Quicken Loans Arena.

    After beating the Miami Heat on Thursday night just four days after they easily dispatched the defending-champion San Antonio Spurs, the Pistons are a dazzling 24-3.

    It's the same record the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, they of the 72 wins, had after 27 games. And the Pistons appear to be on pace to end this season the same way that Bulls team ended its season.

    Already armed with a defense that is both tough and symphonic, first-year coach Flip Saunders has upgraded the Pistons' offense by getting wings Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince much more involved and potent. Chauncey Billups is putting up MVP-like numbers.


    ~ The Cleveland Plain Dealer ~


    James at 21
    To the man who has done more at this many candles than anyone before him, NBA luminaries offer this toast
    By Burt Graeff

    LeBron James turns 21 years old today.

    Pause for a moment to think about it.

    Pause, because no one in the 59-year history of the NBA has done more at 21 than he has.
    No one.
    At 21, James is playing in his third season. He has logged more minutes (7,629), scored more points (4,649), picked off more rebounds (1,187), handed out more assists (1,191) and gotten more fans out of seats with jaw-drop- ping dunks at 21 than anyone who's ever played before him.

    That includes Jordan, Bird and Magic a couple of decades ago.


    The core remains intact, but the Cavaliers will be dealing with a different-looking Pistons team than has appeared in the past two NBA Finals.

    Under first-year coach Flip Saunders, a standout basketball player at Cuyahoga Heights High School more than three decades ago, the Pistons don't hesitate to get out on the break when it's there and don't hesitate to fire up the 3-point shot.

    It is in sharp contrast to previous coach Larry Brown's philosophy of walking the ball upcourt and pounding it inside.

    "The offense now is wide open," Cavaliers guard Damon Jones said. Brown was not too fond of the 3-point shot. Flip gives them opportunities to take them.

    "They are playing with a lot of freedom and a lot of confidence."

    Pistons heading for 70?
    By Burt Graeff

    The current hottest topic in the NBA does not involve the length of the players' shorts, where Ron Artest will be traded or how much Shaquille O'Neal really weighs.

    The topic being discussed most often on and off courts from Boston to Seattle is this: Can the Detroit Pistons become the second team in the 60-year history of the league to win 70 regular-season games?

    The Cavaliers (17-10) get an up-close-and-personal look at the Pistons (24-3) today at The Q. Tipoff is at 1:30 p.m.

    What the Cavaliers will see is a team off to the NBA's fastest start since 1995-96, when the Chicago Bulls also won 24-of-27 en route to an all-time-best 72-10 record.

    It's the only time a team has reached 70 or more victories.




  14. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    Oakland Press Article

    Pistons have strategy for Lebron, Cavs
    By Bill Roose

    On Friday, Cleveland superstar LeBron James turned 21. He celebrated the milestone birthday three days ago with 1,000 of his closest friends at a Cleveland nightclub. A lavish party fit for royalty. And why not? King

    James already has accomplished more individually than many NBA greats did at the same age. He's scored more points (4,649), grabbed more rebounds (1,187) and logged more minutes (7,629) than other notable high schoolers - Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal and Tracy McGrady - who bypassed college for the NBA.

    "It's definitely amazing," said Pistons guard Richard Hamilton, referring to James' career. "Anybody that comes into the league with that much hype and is able to man-up to that and play so well so early when people probably thought it would take him longer it's kind of crazy."

    The Pistons can ruin James' momentous week by beating the Cavaliers (17-10) at 1:30 today in front of a soldout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.

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