Monday, November 16, 2009

Pistons Brace Themselves For Difficult West Coast Trip

Currently with a record of 5-5, the Pistons are preparing for a tough set of road games this week. They play in L.A. tomorrow to face the Lakers, in Portland Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, in Utah Saturday to take on the Jazz and in Phoenix Sunday to battle the Suns. Oh, and as a consolation prize, they get to come home and play the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Playing .500 ball has been impressive for Detroit, who has been without star swingmen Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. Both veterans are injured indefinitely, but the rest of the team has stepped up considerably. The starting backcourt of Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey has set the tone offensively, while Ben Wallace has reclaimed the starting center spot and is anchoring the defense much the way he did during his first stint with the Pistons. With Gordon in the starting lineup, reserve guard Will Bynum has provided a great amount of scoring off the bench.

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The Pistons' big men are doing a tremendous job of following Wallace's lead. Villanueva has been starting at power forward, contributing plenty of scoring inside and out as well as playing surprising stellar defense. Rookie forward Jonas Jerebko has started at small forward in place of Prince, doing a fantastic job shutting down more athletic, experienced players on the wing. Even reserves Kwame Brown, Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox have played well despite inconsistent time on the court.

This might be a tough stretch coming up for them, but the Pistons have proven that, win or lose, they are going to play hard every night and give fans an extremely entertaining team to watch this season.

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Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine