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News » Thunder-Pistons Preview 2009-10-29


Thunder-Pistons Preview 2009-10-29


Thunder-Pistons Preview 2009-10-29
Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were the key players brought in during the Detroit Pistons' revamping of their roster after last season. At least for one game, the moves appeared to be good ones.

Gordon and Villanueva will make their home debuts with the Pistons when they take on Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

Detroit president of basketball operations Joe Dumars knew he needed to change his club after it went 39-43 last season and was swept by Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs, ending its run of six straight Eastern Conference finals appearances.

After firing coach Michael Curry and giving John Kuester his first NBA head coaching job, he added Gordon and Villanueva as free agents, while also coaxing Ben Wallace - who played for the Pistons from 2000-06 - out of retirement.

All three players contributed to a 96-74 rout of Memphis on Wednesday. Gordon scored 22 points and hit four 3-pointers, Villanueva added seven points and Wallace contributed nine rebounds off the bench.

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 25 points as the former University of Connecticut guards went a combined 17 of 31 from the floor, even though Hamilton missed five of his first six shots.

"I don't think there's ever been a problem, especially in this locker room," Hamilton said of sharing time with Gordon. "We're UConn guys. We know how to win.

"We just go out there and try to feed off each other on the floor."

Some questioned whether the two high-scoring guards would work well together, but the Pistons liked what they saw in the opener.

"We're in a situation where we have two guys that are legitimate scorers in this league at the (shooting) guard position," said forward Tayshaun Prince, whose streak of 437 straight starts is the longest in the NBA. "To put (the questions) to rest, we just have to go out and play basketball and know those two guys are going to do that.

"They stepped up big for us, but that's what we are going to need from them throughout the season for us to be the team we want to be."

Oklahoma City doesn't have any question about who its top scorer is, with former Rookie of the Year Durant leading the way. He had 25 points and 11 boards in a 102-89 season-opening victory over Sacramento on Wednesday.

The Thunder cruised after building a 39-22 lead after one quarter.

"That's one of the best first quarters we've ever had," Durant said. "Guys did a great job of making shots - which is rare when everybody makes shots - but we did a great job on the other end of limiting backdoor cuts, which get them going as a team."

The Pistons may use the long-armed Prince to defend Durant, who averaged 29.0 points on 57.5 percent shooting in two games against Detroit last season. Each team won one meeting at home.

The Thunder franchise has lost five straight and 10 of 11 at Detroit.



Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 29, 2009

 

 
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