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Last night, ESPN aired another installment of their award winning “30 for 30″ documentary series.  This episode was especially of interest to me (and likely most of you) because it was 2 hours of interviews, video, and discussion about the Detroit Pistons during the “Bad Boy era” of the late 80s and early 90s.  The 2 hours started with a brief explanation of the city of Detroit falling on hard times and its residents moving out to the suburbs, including the Pistons franchise.  It continued with a brief mention of how the front office was put together after several lackluster seasons (and even a still photo of Dick Vitale as Pistons head coach!).  The story continued on through the back to back championships and then ended by closing on how a majority of the team ended their careers.

It reminded me of what that team meant to me…(Full disclosure: I was 9 years old when the Pistons beat the Lakers)

I didn’t know what basketball was when Isiah Thomas was drafted #2 overall from Indiana University.  I didn’t know who Joe Dumars was, or for that matter, where McNeese was or what a state even was.

My Dad was born in mid-western Ohio, in an area where you were either a Cincinnati or Detroit fan.  My Grandfather was a big time Lions and Tigers fan, and eventually became a big time NCAA basketball fan.  I was born and raised about 8 miles west of Washington DC, and up until I would say 1987, I knew about basketball and a hoop, but I can’t admit to knowing there were professional leagues like baseball and football because my Dad is/was very much a fairweather fan when it came to basketball because he didn’t really grow up with basketball being a big thing.

My Dad was a guy who worked shift work at a local print shop, often working long hours helping make ends meet for my mom and I (which would eventually be 1 of the reasons they split up, because of all the hours he worked).  My Mom and Dad split up when I was 7 years old, and while I do remember that happening I don’t remember why.  What I do remember from this time period though early on in my life is that my Dad was always home and he had 2 friends from his job (a Laker and Celtics fan) that always came over, or we went to their house, to watch all of the pivotal games…together.

It’s my first memory of bonding with my Dad over something after my parents separated, because we spent a lot of time reading about and following the Pistons.  (I mean christ… I’m 11 years old and reading “The Franchise” about the Pistons and not even knowing what a cuss word is and the book is full of them.)  All of my pictures from school during those years you’d see me wearing a Pistons shirt or sweatpants or a combination of both.  We would go to Richard or Al Jackson’s (we always say Al Jackson’s full name, because, well… he’s Al Jackson) house whenever the Pistons would play the Celtics or Lakers, and we’d go to the Capital Center to see the Pistons when they came to Landover, Maryland to play the Washington Bullets.  His company had courtside seats, and I’ve stood next to John Salley and James Edwards as a 10 year old getting pictures taken when they came to town.

Detroit Bad BoysLooking back at clips and highlights of the Bad Boys teams, I love their physical and “blue collar” attitude toward the game.  I remember the highlights of the games as memories of watching them live.  Occasionally you’ll catch a replay of a Bad Boys era game on NBATV, but nowadays you really can only remember the games through the various highlight reel plays that ESPN wants to flash at you.

I love how GM Jack McCloskey wasn’t satisfied with merely reaching the playoffs or a certain level of the playoffs, even for a franchise that had not seen regular season success prior to his takeover of the front office, he was constantly wanting to improve the team.  Let’s not fool ourselves… the Pistons teams had a lot of talent on them.  Isiah Thomas was a #2 overall pick, Mark Aguirre was a #1 pick, Vinnie Johnson was a #7 pick, Adrian Dantley was a 2-time leading scorer in the NBA with 30+ points per night, etc etc etc… the team was put together a lot like that 2004 Pistons team was.  A core of once highly regarded players who came together and played for the betterment of each other as a group and not as individuals.  So often, this frustrated me about how Joe Dumars approached managing the personnel for the “Going to Work” Pistons teams.  Dumars seemed satisfied letting a player’s contract expire rather than using that player and his diminishing skill as an asset, and trading him for younger talent that could extend the Pistons latest run.  But… this isn’t a post meant to bash Dumars and his personnel decisions

Most importantly though for me personally… the Bad Boys spanned a critical transition period in my life (and including my Dad, our lives) where sports came along and eased the pain of a major life change like separation or divorce, by having a favorite team win or be on the verge of winning.  Finding out later about a lot of the details of what went on during those years, and more specifically the death of Joe Dumars’ father in the Portland Trailblazers series, have only cemented my love for the team

The Bad Boys turned me on to the game of basketball, and while my love for it has dissipated over the years (due to strikes, lockouts, etc), whenever I get together with my Dad for a beer or even when I see my Mom and the topic comes up, it’s a fun discussion to have and many laughs are shared.  My Mom always used to say “Danny, you should’ve been born on a basketball court in Detroit”, and while it never really made much sense to me, I guess the countless nights of me straggling back home as the street lights came on, from the park playing pickup basketball is the reason why she said that.  Afternoons of cherry picking at the 3 point line, trying to replicate Joe Dumars’ shooting motion (but as a lefty).

At the end of the 30 for 30 episode as the players were walking off the set with the caption of how they were either traded or retired, I couldn’t help but get emotional about it.  Hell… when Rick Mahorn got choked up talking about how he was picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Expansion Draft after the 1989 championship season, it caused me to choke up a little bit.  All good things come to an end, and shortly after that period in the Pistons’ history, we had to endure years of the “Teal era” that vaulted the franchise deep into another dark period before the 2000s came along.  Let’s hope the Pistons can rebound again soon, so that the next generation of young, impressionable Detroit/NBA fans have a reason to cheer for the Pistons and make The Palace one of the loudest arenas in the NBA once again.

The 24-38 #Pistons are in are in Boston to take on the 21-41 Celtics Sunday evening. The Pistons, who came off an embarrassing loss to the Timberwolves Friday night, have a great chance of bouncing back against the Celtics.

The good: This roller coaster ride that is the 2013-2014 Pistons season is almost over. Detroit is 2-0 against the Boston Celtics this season.
The bad: Chauncey Billups thinks losing doesn’t hurt this team the way i should, and so do I.
The unknown: Will Detroit come to play after looking like they’d never played basketball with each other Friday in Minnesota.

Pistons: Chauncey Billups (left knee surgery) is out. Peyton Siva is day-to-day.
Celtics:Vitor Faverani, Avery Bradley, Gerald Wallace are out.

Stat: Detroit has won six of the last eight games against Boston.

Tip off is at 6:00 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit . If you can’t catch the game on TV, catch it on the radio over at 97.1 The Ticket.

The 12-14 #Pistons are in Boston to take on the 12-14 Celtics Wednesday night. Detroit is 1-0 against the Celtics this season and have won five of the last seven games against Boston.

Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens thinks Detroit is one of the most talented teams in the NBA.

“I’ve always thought they were one of the most talented teams, especially in the East, they’ve got a 3-man who is playing like an All-Star in Josh Smith, who is not a normal 3-man. You’ve got a guy like (Greg) Monroe who’s a bonafide scorer, who can get the ball on either block and score, can drive it from the elbow and score, can make mid-range shots.

(They have) probably other than Dwight Howard the next most athletic center in the league in Andre Drummond. And then you’ve got perimeter guys in (Rodney) Stuckey, (Brandon) Jennings, (Chauncey) Billups, on down the line, (Will) Bynum, (Kentavious) Caldwell-Pope is playing well, that can go off. So you’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things. They’re a very formidable group in my opinion.” via NBA.com

The good: Josh Smith has been playing the best basketball in a Pistons uniform the past two games, and looks like he figured out how to with this team to help them win. The last time the Pistons played Boston Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith each recorded 15 points.
The bad: Despite the Pistons being the only team that has beaten the Pacers and the Heat on their home courts, they are getting little respect around the NBA for doing it.
The unknown: Can Detroit start closing out games on a consistent basis without letting their opponents get back into games in the fourth when they have the lead?
Injury Report: None.

Fact: Josh Smith has scored 30-plus points in each of his last two games – the first Piston with back-to-back 30-pointperformances since Richard Hamilton in February 2006.
Stat: Andre Drummond now ranks second in the NBA in field goal percentage with 61.8%.
Fact:Andre Drummond ranks first in the Eastern Conference in double-doubles and third in the NBA with 18 double-doubles.
Tip off is at 7:30 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit . If you can’t catch the game on TV, catch it on the radio over at 97.1 The Ticket.

The Pistons improve to 2-and-1 on the season after a 87-77 victory over the “new look” Boston Celtics.  The Pistons Big-3 Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond each scored 15 points to help Detroit, donned in their Motor City uniforms, to a sold win.

Key Points:

  • This is one of the deepest Pistons teams we’ve seen in years.  Despite the Celtics making it close down the stretch, Chauncey Billups and Will Bynum finished this one on the bench.
  • Five Pistons in double figures.
  • Andre Drummond is a dunking/rebound machine! He lights up the Palace like nothing we’ve seen in quite some time.  Dre finished with 15 (mostly dunks), 12 boards 2 blocked shots and 2 steals.
Amdre Drummond Dunks Pistons vs Celtics Motor City Uniform

Photo Getty Images – Editing Need4Sheed.com

  • Did you get your Drummond jersey yet?
  • This happens alot!

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Video courtesy of NBA.com

  • If I’m a Celtics fan I just can’t root for that hair – Kelly Olynyk.  Olynyk was the Celtics high scorer with 15 off the bench.
  • Speaking of hair, is Gigi ever going to get playing time?
  • Brandon Jennings made an immediate impression on the Palace crowd in his debut.  Jennings with 14 off the bench for Detroit in 30 minutes with 4 assists, and 4 steals.  Jennings makes this team different in a very good way. His first two points as a Pistons were pretty sweet.

  • I wonder how that other Brandon is doing?
  • Double-double for both Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
  • Singler and Jerebko have played scrappy and hard in all three games of the season.
  • Monroe with 10 boards and 15 points.
  • Boy is the front-court fun to watch.
  • The Pistons need to learn hot to put a team like the Celtics away.  They had way too many chances to put it in the book, but almost let them steal one down the stretch.
  • The Stuckey and Jennings tandem looks great.
Josh Smith Pistons vs Celtics Motor City Uniforms

Photo Getty Images – Editing Need4Sheed.com

  • Josh Smith finished with 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting with 7 boards, 3 assists 2 steals and 2 blocked shots.  I’m getting really fond of him when he’s not chucking up three-pointers.
  • I’m a big fan of the Motor City uniforms.
  • This one was a party in the paint.  54 points in the paint for Detroit and the board war won 44-37.
  • Though they almost let this one slip away, the Pistons regained their composure and scored the last eight points of the game.
  • Turnover an issues, the Pistons with 21 on the night.

Highlights via NBA.com

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  • Tuesday at the Palace against the Pacers will not be easy.

The 1-1 Pistons host the 0-2 Boston Celtics Sunday evening at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Boston would like to  avoid losing their first three games for the second time in three seasons, while Detroit would love to get a win after the though overtime loss against the Grizzlies.

  • The good: The great start to the season by Rodney Stuckey and the possible return of Brandon Jennings with mask.
  • The bad: This Celtics team is a different one, bad for them good for Detroit.
  • The unknown: Will this be the first (good kind) of blowout for The Motor City?

This will be a debut of the Pistons new alternative Motor City jerseys.Detroit Pistons Alt Jersey

You can still get in the door to watch opening night festivities. Tickets as low as $12 with no ticket fees! Offer code: gopistons

Tip off is at 6:00 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports . If you can’t catch the game on TV, catch it on the radio over at 97.1 the Ticket.

Andre Drummond Pistons-vs-SunsIt’s no secret that the Pistons are looking to bring Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo to Detroit.  Joe Dumars has made the call, but it will take something that Detroit won’t part with in order to get him, second year sensation Andre Drummond.

Drummond is the Pistons sacred cow, so it’s not likely you’ll see this one going down unless the Celtics change their tune. Joe is willing to send Brandon Knight and an expiring contract, but that just doesn’t cut it. The other problem is that the Pistons can’t even offer a draft pick in the deal because because of the Ben Gordon deal that gave the Bobcats the choice of a Pistons draft pick over the next four seasons.

I’m not going to say I wouldn’t love to have a All Star legitimate PG on this team and Chauncey as his backup, but there is basically no way I’m trading the centerpiece of the team. Drummond has the potential to be a superstar, something Detroit hasn’t seen from a draft pick since Grant Hill. And boy is Dre fun to watch.

Are you in favor of it?

Would you trade Andre Drummond to get Rajon Rondo?

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The 25-50 #Pistons are in Boston to take on the 38-36 Celtics Wednesday night.

  • The good:Detroit has won the last four against the Celtics.
  • The bad: The Celtics are clinging to a 1 1/2 game lead over the Bucks for the last playoff spot. With a win over Detroit and a Philadelphia loss the Celtics can clinch a spot, so you can bet there going to give it all they have against Detroit
  • The unknown: Will Greg Monroe have just as much success as he has in the past against Boston? Monroe put up 35 points and 24 boards in the last two combined against the Celtics.

Tip off is at 7:30 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports. If you can’t catch the game on TV, catch it on the radio over at 97.1 the Ticket.

If you’re thinking of going to one of the few remaining games at The Palace, you can get tickets directly from the Pistons with NO FEES.

The #Pistons got off to a great start Sunday night against the Celtics, leading by as much as 18 points. The Celtics however came right back and were down just four at the half. The Pistons didn’t let this one go, by playing solid after the half and amassing a 16 point lead to beat Boston 88-103 to snap their two game losing streak.

Key Points:

  • The Twin Towers are really making this Pistons team fun to watch. Greg and Andre combined for 31 points.
  • Nice try Doc, fouling Drummond and sending him to the line didn’t work out for you. Drummond made six of his eight free throw attempts.
  • I know I keep looking at Brandon Knight with a fine tooth comb every day, but if you look at his stat line against Will Bynum’s for Sunday night they look pretty similar until you get to turnover and minutes. Brandon and Will each scored 15 points, each has a steal, and 5 assists. Knight grabbed more boards, but had seven turnovers to Will’s one. Is Knight regressing…or is it just me?

Will Bynum-Pistons-vs-Celtics
Photo/Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

  • It was a nice win, and nice to see the Pistons bounce back after giving up most of their lead before the half. Also nice to see a big crowd at the Palace, but I can attest that to the many Celtics fans in the building Sunday night.
  • Lawrence Frank needs to fix the Pistons turnover problems. Thankfully the Celtics turned the ball over a lot themselves. The two teams combined for 39 givebacks in the game.
  • How great is a nice Drummond Dunk? Andre finished the game with 16 points, ten of them by way of slam, with seven boards, a steal and a blocked shot in 20:19 minutes. So, when are we going to see the big guy in the starting lineup?
  • Highlights via NBA.com

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  • Another double-double for Greg Monroe who scored 15 points and 11 boards, not to mention that his five assists matched that of the Pistons two point guards. He’s been so solid, while keeping himself almost under the radar.
  • Has Singler shaken he woes? He put up a solid game scoring 15 with eight boards, three steals a blocked shot and five assists. That’s got to be one of his best games since being inserted into the starting lineup.
  • Jason Maxiell with 4 ridiculous blocked shots.
  • Tayshuan added 14 points.
  • Who thought, “here we go again” when Boston fought back and got the game to 55-54?
  • Stuckey with just three points.
  • Nothing like beating the Celtics. Well unless it’s the Lakers.
  • Four straight over the Celtics.
  • You can say it if you’d like. The Pistons are getting closer and closer to that last playoff spot in the East.
  • Tuesday at home against Orlando should be a good one.

The #Pistons got their first home win of the season courtesy of the Boston Celtics. This time around the Pistons didn’t blow their lead in the 103-83 win. In their other three home games, the Pistons held double-digit leads in the second half, but defensive collapses turned into losses.

Key Points:

  • The Pistons were led by Greg Monroe, who put up his 6th double-double of the season with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, with 13 boards, while adding 2 assists and a steal in 31 minutes. Does anyone think he’s not a better player than he was last season?
  • I don’t care who’s leading the team in ppg, Jason Maxiell needs a medal of honor for his performances this season. He was unbelievable again against the Celtics, finishing with 15 points,  six boards, with a steal and a blocked shot in 30 minutes on the floor. It might sound cliche, but he really was everywhere all the time.
  • Congrats to Rondo who needed all 47 minutes to get his 10th assist of the game, extending his double-digit streak to 34 games, the third longest in league history.
  • Andre running the floor again. This almost looks like a replay  from the other night.

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  • Drummond played 18 minutes grabbing six boards and scoring four points. I do this thing when he’s on the floor, I stop watching everything else and just watch him.  Let me tell you with every game he’s learning the system better and he’s making an impact.
  • Singler with 14 on the night in his third night starting for Detroit. I’m very happy with Kyle in the starting lineup, are you?
  • Six Pistons in double figures.
  • They went from an abysmal defensive game against Orlando to playing the best defense of the season against the Celtics. Detroit outscored the Celtics 23-14 in third quarter, forcing Boston to shoot just 31.3 percent, while turning the ball over seven times.
  • Highlights via NBA.com

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  • I know many fans like a good offensive game, but I was raised on the Bad Boys and I love a good defensive shutdown.
  • Every Pistons was in the Plus column, even Daye who played a minute and thirty eight seconds.
  • I never thought I’d be think excited that the Pistons have Corey Maggette. He scored 11 points, with 2 assists and a rebound in 13:31 minutes. Shame on me for not tooning him yet.
  • Will Bynum added a much needed spark off the bench since Brandon Knight wasn’t doing much of anything other than turn the ball over. Will finished with 7 points, 5 assists and two steals in 21 minutes on the floor. And let’s not forget a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter that made him look like he was going to hit his head on the rim.

Will Bynum - Pistons vs Celtics

  • Should we be worried about Brandon Knight?
  • This is the kind of game the Pistons need from Rodney Stuckey, who scored 14 points off the bench, with 5 assist and 5 boards. He still think there is something off with him though.
  • Detroit’s biggest lead was 22.
  • Surprised at the limited turnout at the Palace.  I know the Pistons aren’t doing well, and it was a night game on Sunday but the Celtics usually draw a crowd.
  • BTW did you know Darko was on the Celtics now?
  • Wednesday night in Orlando…revenge.

The 1-9 #Pistons are hosting the 6-4 Celtics Sunday evening at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

  • The good:The Pistons have taken two of the last three against the Celtics.
  • The bad: Rondo is playing out of his mind, he’s coming into Sunday’s game with a 34 game streak of double digit assists. If Detroit has any chance in this one, they’re going to have to make a point of stopping him.
  • The unknown: Singler, Stuckey, Monroe…who’s going to step up for Detroit? Or will it be Brandon Knight, who dished out a career-high 12 assists on Friday night against the Magic.

Tip off is at 7:30 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports . If you can’t catch the game on TV, catch it on the radio over at 97.1 the Ticket.