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News » Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-03-29

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-03-29

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-03-29
The Pistons have a long-standing reputation of being a half-court team. They would like to break out of that mold Saturday night.

Cleveland's half-court defense stifled the Pistons' offensive flow in their last meeting March 19, leading to an 89-73 Cavs victory. Detroit shot 39.7 percent and committed three more turnovers than Cleveland, mirroring its performances in the last two playoff series between the division rivals.

When the teams play for the third time this season at The Palace Saturday night, the Pistons want to quicken the pace to loosen up the Cavs' defense.

"That team is similar to us," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "They're long and they can block shots. Of course, with the addition of Ben (Wallace), that makes them better. They're more deadly in there. They're a very good rebounding team and a good defensive team, so if you slow it down, you've really got to be shooting a great percentage to win the game against them."

A faster tempo can be achieved defensively by trapping and pressing at times, which can create turnovers and fast breaks. Ball-handlers like Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince can also force Cleveland out of its comfort zone by looking for seams to drive through. The Pistons shot a season-low seven free throws in Cleveland.

Defensively, the Pistons will basically play LeBron James straight up with Prince guarding him. James scored 30 in the last meeting but he was relatively passive, hanging out on the wing most of the game. The Pistons don't want to show any junk defenses against James and give the Cavs a chance to prepare for them prior to any potential playoff meeting.

PISTONS 85, HEAT 69: Against most NBA teams, the weary Pistons might have been down 20 points in the first half Thursday. By virtue of playing the Miami Heat in their fourth game in five nights, the Pistons were trailing by just a basket.

Inevitably, talent took over and the Pistons pulled away to an 85-69 victory at The Palace. That secured the Central Division title outright with 10 games remaining.

"It's always good to win the division," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "Every single year, I look at what people say about us at the start of the season. This year, we were supposed to finish third in the division. Some has us fourth, some had us second, but we always continue to dominate the division."

If they had been a little fresher, the Pistons probably would have dominated a Heat team that was missing four of its starters. Instead, they were down 45-43 at halftime.

Led by rookie guard Arron Afflalo and power forward Jason Maxiell, the Pistons picked up the intensity and held the Heat to 24 second-half points.

"The schedule is crazy sometimes," Billups said. "This week we've got five games in seven days and this was the fourth in five nights. It's tough to get it going sometimes when you're faced with that kind of adversity but nevertheless, we did get it going late in the game. The young guys were great all night and we fed off their energy."

Afflalo, starting for the third straight game for injured Richard Hamilton (sore hip), had a career-high 15 points and seven rebounds. Maxiell also scored 15, including nine in the third quarter.

"When you have four All-Star caliber players around you, there's a lot of open opportunities. That's all that is," Afflalo said. "With Tayshaun (Prince), Sheed (Rasheed Wallace), Dice (Antonio McDyess) and Chauncey creating open opportunities, it really makes it very easy. And on the defensive end as well, you've got those guys talking to you and that makes your job real easy."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 29, 2008


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