Friday, December 17, 2004

The Season thus far

This could be you-the ultimate fan

You think you're all set-you know your history, players, Palace, and how to watch the game on television, but you're still missing one thing. At this point, the 2004-2005 season is 1/4 over and you have no idea how the Pistons are doing. I'll give you a brief update as to where they stand, and then you'll be all set to start off running as a Pistons fan this Winter break.

Currently the Pistons are 12-10, and ranked 8th in ESPN's Power Rankings. This is not what fans were hoping for. They've been hovering around .500 all year, and this is not what many were expecting after last year's championship. We, as fans, have to realize however, that this is not the same team that won last year. Major changes have been made, and asking a well-oiled machine like the Pistons to evolve overnight is not going to happen. It may not be until the second half or end of this season until they start functioning as a team as well as they did last year. Also, after winning a championship, every team is gunning for you. Upstart teams look for a win against you to build confidence, and highly ranked teams play hard to solidify their place at the top. This all means that the Pistons never have a day off. Each time they step on the court they have to be prepared to play with the same intensity that won them the Championship.

True fans aren't worried...yet. The season has a long way to go, and Coach Larry Brown has been working on forming the identity of this new team. Once things start clicking, I'm sure the Pistons will be poised to make a run at the Finals again this year.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Can't make it to the game? Make it to the television.

Ok, I'll admit it, actually going to the Palace may be a little difficult over break. That doesn't mean you're a complete failure as a fan, though, because there's always television. Most, if not all Pistons game are televised, and it's a great way to keep up on the team. I grew up watching the Pistons, and if you're lucky you'll get the right announcers, the best of which being George Blaha. He's been the voice of Pistons Basketball for as long as I can remember, and his intimate knowledge of Pistons, both past and present, have never let me down. Second to George Blaha is Bill Laimbeer. Bill may be a little biased, and it definitely shows in his commentary. I usually find his brutal honestly refreshing, and he's often been known to laugh at and cut down on lesser skilled players. After this duo comes the team of Greg Kelser and Fred McLeod. They operate on Fox Sports Detroit, and although its not as good as UPN, it's still better than watching the game on any national network. National announcers very rarely have the intimate knowledge that local announcers do.

Some great games are coming up that are sure to be a must watch. Tune in on Christmas Day to catch the much-anticipated rematch between the Pistons and the Pacers. In case you've been living under a rock for the past month, the last time the two teams played together a brawl broke out that was called the ugliest moment in NBA history. Emotions are sure to be high, and you can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or ESPN.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Palace of Auburn Hills

Every king needs a castle, and the Pistons have the Palace. This rockin' venue has been the home to the Pistons for over 15 years, and has consistently been named 'Arena of the Year' by Performance Magazine. I attempt to go to at least one or two games a season, and with tickets starting at only $10, it doesn't put too much of a strain on the wallet.

Visiting the Palace is like the Pilgrimage to Mecca-every true fan has to go at least one in their life. What better time to start than this Winter break? The Pistons will be playing an amazing 6 games there over Winter break, and the good news is that tickets are still available. Upcoming opponents include Portland, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami, Boston, and Memphis.

Get there early and it's also likely that you can get something for free. Pistons spend tons of money on promotions, and it's likely that you'll come home with a free souvenir. I still have a Pistons t-shirt, as well as a Jon Barry bobblehead from three years ago that still sits on my desk.

Also, if you're having trouble coming up with that perfect gift for your friend/family member/significant other, give the gift that keeps on giving and buy them Pistons tickets. It's a great place to take a family, and it sure beats a traditional date like dinner and a movie. Whatever the case, the Palace is the place to be this Holiday break.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

From Wallace to Wallace-A look at the Players

As any high school coach will tell you, "there's no 'I' in Team". The Pistons certainly believe this. There seems to be no superstar or overall fan favorite. A last second shot opportunity could go to any number of players. Although the team comes first, the Pistons are still made up of individuals, and an interesting group at that. Below is a brief description of the players.

Chauncey Billups: The point guard and leader on the floor finally found a home in Detroit after bouncing all around the league. He's known for his last second heroics and three-point shooting ability.

Elden Campbell: Man is this guy old. Even his name sounds really old. He came to the Pistons last year, and although some thought he was a joke, he managed to put up some nice figures and contribute quite a bit in the playoffs.

Derrick Coleman: Yeah, he's still playing. The Detroit native returns home, although he's only played in 5 games this year.

Carlos Delfino: He adds a nice international flavor to the squad-with his Gold Medal playing for Argentina in 2004.

Ronald Dupree: Actually wasn't drafted into the NBA. Right now he's sitting on this sidelines on the injured list.

Darvin Ham: "Dunkin" Darvin Ham is a Saginaw native. His ability to jump out of the gym and overall energy are a nice addition coming off the bench.

Richard Hamilton: "Rip" is the current master of a dead art form...the mid-range jumper. He's also known for having one of the quickest first steps in the league as well as being one of the best conditioned players. Currently leads the team in scoring.

Lindsey Hunter: Lindsey played for the Pistons 10 years ago, left, and now he's back. He may be getting old but his quick hands and feet still frustrate those he's defending.

Horace Jenkins: He was signed as a free agent back in August...that's about all you need to know (Ok it's all I know too).

Antonio McDyess: A very nice addition to the team. He'd be starting anywhere else in the league.

Darko Milicic: He's called the human victory cigar because he only comes into games when a Pistons victory is a sure thing. He's considered a long term project, and everyone is still saying that he'll be amazing in a few years. I'm willing to wait because he's still a teenager.

Smush Parker: His name says it all.

Tayshaun Prince: Known for his great defense-he's frustrated opponents throughout the league. His blocking ability is also a major asset.

Ben Wallace: The figure head of the team. He's known as the hardest working man in Basketball, and he totally encompasses Piston ideals. He's known for his strong defense and rebounding-but his offensive skills have been developing in recent years.

Rasheed Wallace: The all-star that gave the Pistons a shot at the title. His numbers have dropped since he came to Detroit, but his ability to contribute hasn't.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The History-A requirement for any true fan

Contrary to popular belief, this is not actually the 1941 Pistons squad.

Pistons Win! Pistons Win! Everyone and their mother at least heard that the Pistons were the 2004 World Champions. Fans poured into the streets to celebrate with the Jerseys on and old school "Bad Boys" t-shirts. I could sit here and tell you how the West was won (let's face it, the "underdog" Pistons absolutely embarrassed the Lakers)-but I'll save that for another day. I could also complain about the fair-weathered fans who suddenly appeared and claimed that they had supported the team all along, but I will also save you from those rants as well. If they want to come and go as they please-let them. But what a true Pistons fan must have is an understanding of the team's history. Only with such an understanding can a fan truly appreciate the value that is Pistons Basketball.

Below is a brief History of the Pistons:

1940s: Fred Zollner launched the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1941 (team NOT pictured above). When the NBA was formed in 1949, the Pistons were placed in the Central Division-where they are to this day.

1950s: Subpar teams and many coaches-however one good thing did happen. The Pistons moved to Detroit in 1957.

1960s: Pistons began playing games in Cobo arena. Dave Debusschere and Dave Bing became stars.

1970s: Bob Lanier was drafted in 1970 and became one of the dominant centers in the league. Dick Vitale was coach towards the end of the decade, but he did a horrible job (I really don't like Dick Vitale).

1980s: The Pistons began to take form into a championship caliber team under the likes of Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, and Vinnie Johnson. They were coached by Chuck Daly, and their rough and tumble style of play earned them the nickname of "the Bad Boys". The won their first championship in 1989, and would then repeat the following year.

1990s: The decade started off on a high note with another Championship and the drafting of Dennis Rodman (he was normal back then). However, throughout the rest of the decade the Pistons were up and down, in and out of the playoffs. The only bright spot seemed to be Grant Hill.

Now: Joe Dumars took over the organizaton as President of Basketball Operations. Immediately things started to look up. In 2002 they became Central Division Champions, in 2003 they repeated the feat, and as we all know, won their third Championship in 2004. Many hailed this as the return of the Bad Boys.

Friday, November 19, 2004

What's all this about Combat Basketball?

The city is Detroit. The sport is Basketball. The experience is Detroit Pistons Basketball. Those who have come to follow the team have come to realize that it is much more than a game or hobby. Being a "Pistons Fan" is more than just watching a game or wearing your Ben Wallace jersey. True Pistons Fans know that Detroit Basketball is more a way of life than anything else. As the title of this Blog, "Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball", indicates, Pistons Basketball centers around such ideals as hard work, teamwork, and determination (Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball was actually a wildly popular video game for Nintendo, but you get the point). Their blue collar work ethic has won fans the world over, and they've also brought the "team" back to the game of Basketball. Being a Pistons fan since birth, I can't help but act as an ambassador for the team-attempting to spread the good word and recruit fans. That is the main point of this Blog. I'd like to introduce you, the reader, to the wonderful world that is Pistons Basketball.

Some would say I'm overstating the importance of a game. Regardless, Pistons Basketball is one wild ride that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

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Monday, November 15, 2004


Michael Bishop

I am a student at The University of Michigan.

The OC

Michael Bishop,