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Championship Drive is closed November 15, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home.
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It’s the end of the road, Championship Drive readers. I’m officially stopping work on my Pistons blog. Thanks for checking it out.

Keep rooting for the team through this rough patch, until the franchise hits another championship era.

This is Jeff Engel, signing off.

Go Pistons!

Zach Randolph to Pistons rumor shot down by agent November 11, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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Zach Randolph

Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph / AP Photo via MLive.com

Sports Illustrated speculated in this week’s issue that Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph, an All-Star with an $84 million contract that expires at the end of this season, could be shipped off to Detroit.

Randolph’s agent, however, squashed those rumblings the next day, according to The Memphis Edge.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press thinks a deal could work. The Grizzlies are trying to clear big contracts after extending Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, and Randolph would be a sorely needed scorer and rebounder in the post for the Pistons (after averaging 20 and 10 the last two seasons). It’s a low-risk deal for the Pistons, too, as they could either extend Randolph’s contract or let him walk at the end of the season.

But the Life On Dumars blog thinks there’s “no conceivable way” a deal gets done, in part because the Grizzlies would be left with a thin frontcourt.

At the very least, Ellis notes, it’s more plausible than the Tayshaun Prince for Jamal Crawford rumors from earlier this week.

Tayshaun Prince to Hawks trade rumors are bogus, source says November 9, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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The speculation of Tayshaun Prince being dealt to the Atlanta Hawks are reportedly false, according to a source who talked to Chris Iott of MLive.com.

Sekou Smith blogged Monday on NBA.com about the possibility of a Tayshaun Prince and Will Bynum to Atlanta for Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague deal.

But the source who spoke with Iott claims there have been no talks between the two teams.

Although many Pistons fans — including this blogger — have called for trading Prince, sending him packing in return for two more guards on a guard-heavy team makes little sense for Detroit. Management may as well wait some more for a smart deal to present itself.

Mike Ilitch ‘real close’ to purchasing Pistons November 9, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Pistons news.
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Mike Ilitch said Monday he is ‘real close’ to reaching a deal to buy the Pistons, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Ilitch, who already owns the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, made the comments at the Hockey Hall of Fame while attending the induction ceremony of Jimmy Devellano, senior vice president of the Wings and Tigers.

When asked if the Wings would ever play at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Ilitch was a little more vague.

He told the Detroit Free Press, “Well, I don’t want to get into all that. We’re going to build a stadium in Detroit. … I want two teams in one building. So that’s all I can tell you.”

Ilitch has had exclusive negotiating rights with the team for a month.

Pistons finally notch first win of season November 7, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Game recaps, Home.
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The wait is finally over.

After a frustrating 0-5 start, the Pistons earned their first win of the season Friday night by defeating the Charlotte Bobcats, 97-90.

Guard Ben Gordon led the way with 20 points for the Pistons, and guard Tracy McGrady did a nice job filling in for guard Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey was benched for disciplinary reasons after ignoring coach John Kuester during Wednesday night’s game against Atlanta.

The Pistons play Golden State tonight at 6 p.m. EST.

Celtics’ Garnett calls Pistons’ Villanueva a ‘nobody’ November 7, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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Kevin Garnett

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. / AP photo via MLive.com.

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett took another shot at Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva on Friday, calling him a “nobody” when asked if he had moved on from the several day controversy between the two.

Villanueva declined to comment Saturday.

The verbal fighting began in Tuesday night’s game between the two teams. Later on Twitter, Villanueva accused Garnett of calling him a “cancer patient.”

Garnett claims he called Villanueva “cancerous to your team and our league.” Celtics coach Doc Rivers backed up his player, saying he only heard Garnett call Villanueva a “cancer.”

Villanueva has a condition known as alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss over the entire body.

Pistons’ player-coach tensions boil over November 7, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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The Detroit Pistons are on the verge of imploding.

After a Tuesday loss to Boston, coach John Kuester called for more leadership from the team. Forward Tayshaun Prince pointed the finger right back at his coach.

The Detroit News reported that Kuester held a team meeting after the loss to the Celtics and his uncharacteristic public criticism of players. Kuester said he was pleased with the team’s effort in the next game, a loss to Atlanta the following night that put the Pistons at 0-5.

It was the team’s worst start since the 1980-’81 season.

However, during that game against the Hawks, guard Rodney Stuckey — one of the team’s supposed leaders — ignored his coach when he called to him from the sideline in the third quarter. Kuester benched Stuckey for the rest of the game.

According to the Detroit Free Press, all Stuckey would say about the incident was that, “It is what it is.” Kuester cut interviews short after the game.

Kuester may be on the verge of losing the players, wrote Jamie Samuelsen, the sports director for the morning show on WCSX-FM (94.7) and a blogger for the Detroit Free Press.

Samuelsen thinks the players are in the wrong and need to grow up and show support for their coach.

But if recent Pistons history is any indication, Kuester could soon go the way of Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders and Michael Curry — all canned or pushed out, in some cases perhaps prematurely.

Pistons’ 0-3 record tough to swallow November 1, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Game recaps, Home.
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First, the Pistons blew a seven-point lead with 1:40 left in their season opener to lose to the New Jersey Nets last Wednesday. They followed that up by surrendering a game-winning layup in the final seconds to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on Friday night. The following night the Chicago Bulls, led by Derrick Rose’s 39 points, came back to win by 10 points after being down 21 in the third quarter.

Check out the highlights of Rose’s show, via NBA.com:

Derrick Rose

Click on the image to watch highlights of the game.

There seems to be a troublesome pattern here.

You would be hard-pressed to find a more “deflating manner” to lose the first three games of the season, Chris Iott of MLive.com wrote.

The Pistons haven’t struggled this much at the beginning of the season since going 0-4 to open the 1999-2000 season.

Monroe sits in opening game loss October 29, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Game recaps, Home.
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Rookie forward Greg Monroe didn’t see the floor in the regular season opener. / Photo via the Detroit Free Press, Kirthmon F. Dozier

Fans cried foul when Pistons coach John Kuester sat rookie forward Greg Monroe in the season-opening loss against the New Jersey Nets Wednesday night, 101-98.

Why would coach keep the seventh pick in the NBA draft — a 6-foot-10-inch player — on the bench the entire game, especially for a somewhat vertically challenged Pistons team playing the bottom feeder Nets? It’s a fair question the Detroit Free Press asked afterward.

Kuester explained that part of it was 6-foot-7-inch forward Jason Maxiell’s energy level, and that Monroe will definitely get his shot this year.

Chris Iott of MLive.com was not surprised by the move. He pointed to Monroe’s lack of defense in the preseason, which may have spelled a monster game from 7-foot center Brook Lopez of the Nets. Lopez was held to 25 points, but Iott believes he could have scored more with Monroe guarding him.

The Pistons play their home opener against Oklahoma City tonight, 8 p.m. EST.

Pistons-Nets tickets selling for cheap online October 27, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Pistons news.
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Going to be in the New Jersey area this evening? Apparently, tickets for the regular season opener between the Pistons and the New Jersey Nets are a steal right now.

NorthJersey.com is reporting $200 list-price tickets selling for $50, a $40 ticket for $10, or a $20 ticket for 47 cents.

Those figures obviously don’t include convenience fees, parking or concessions, but hey, it’s still a major bargain.

The article said the $200 tickets discounted at $50 were found on TravelZoo.com, which many NBA teams work with. Other discounts were found on sites like StubHub.com, SeatGeek.com or Ticketsnow.com, according to the report.

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