The 5 Hottest Starts in Pistons History

The 2015-16 Detroit Pistons really couldn’t have asked for a better start than their three game run through the Hawks, Jazz, and Bulls in the season’s first week. Considering the Detroit Lions situation (that situation being: the Lions are the Lions), there was a quick touch of excited relief for a Detroit franchise exceeding expectations, if only … Read more

Dates set for Wallace & Billups retirement ceremonies

Dates for Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups jersey retirement ceremonies have officially been set. First reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, the Pistons plan to retire Wallace’s jersey on January 16 against the Golden State Warriors. Billups, meanwhile, will have his jersey head to the rafters on February 10 against the Denver Nuggets. OFFICIAL: We'll … Read more

The Malice at the Palace: Then & Now

November 19, 2004. The ugliest incident in NBA history, and possibly American sports altogether, occurred 12 years ago today. For many, we remember exactly where we were when Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest made the fateful decision to stampede into the stands toward a man standing frozen in fear and displaying the type of disbelief consistent with watching … Read more

Pistons to retire numbers for Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace

It was just a matter of time. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported this afternoon that the Pistons plan on retiring the jersey numbers for both Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace at some point this season: Persons with first-hand knowledge of the organizations’ plans confirmed to the Free Press today that Chauncey Billups and … Read more

Looking Back: Ben Wallace and the Pistons Lock Down Western Conference All-Stars

When the Atlanta Hawks suited up four players for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game last season, it marked just the third time in nine years an NBA team had accomplished such a feat.

One of the last squads to make it happen? That’d be your 2006 Detroit Pistons, who took it upon themselves to re-introduce the idea of defense to an exhibition game typically front-loaded with uncontested dunk.

By the mid-point of the 2005-2006 campaign, the Pistons were off to a blazing openly act under Flip Saunders, in his first year at the helm in Detroit. Hitting the All-Star Break with a 42-9 record (including a 37-5 start), Detroit’s personnel seemed primed to finally earn some hefty recognition, particularly after their NBA championship run in 2004 and a return to the Finals in 2005.

The Pistons’ sustained excellence paid off as four players — Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton — got the nod to join an Eastern Conference All-Star team coached by Saunders. All but one of the Pistons’ starters were accounted for, though they yearned for their missing brethren.

“I wish Tayshaun (Prince) would be there,” Hamilton said. “If that would have happened, that would have been incredible because it hasn’t happened before. But it will be incredible to be there with those guys and if Flip plays us all at the same time that will be even more exciting.”

Pistons All-Star
Flip Saunders greets his troops.

Come All-Star Sunday, true to form, all four Pistons representatives checked in as a collective unit. With Saunders using Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce as a Tayshaun Prince substitute, the Pistons began to gain their wits about them late in the third quarter, leaving a very distinctive imprint on a game typically personified by lackadaisical defense and wild open floor dunks.

In familiar fashion, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace set the tone by twice blocking the shot of Memphis Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol, inducing a 24-second violation — a rarity in All-Star competition.

After Chauncey Billups tied the contest with a three-point play early in the fourth quarter, the Pistons n’ Pierce combo embarked on an extended stretch of, well, Pistons basketball. Successful defensive rotations, frantic closeouts on shooters and sustained effort led to numerous turnovers and near 24-second shot clock violations (again, this is an All-Star game) that led to a fertile stream of transition Pistons layups and jumpers.

By the time the Pistons’ All-Star run was all said and done, the East had re-gained a lead they’d never again relinquish. Prompting unusual news headlines such as “LeBron and the Pistons Lead East to All-Star game win“, the Detroit Pistons had succeeded in executing a hostile takeover of the 2006 All-Star Game, and it was awesome.

First Look: Breaking down the 2004 Pistons’ return to the hardwood in NBA 2K16

With a bevy of gamers receiving their pre-ordered copies of NBA 2K16 late Thursday evening, we finally had an opportunity to get our first in-game look at the 2004 Detroit Pistons, one of 12 new classic teams to make the cut in this year’s iteration of 2K. Already heading into action knowing the famed ’04 … Read more

The Hottest Shooting Night of Ben Wallace’s Life

At this point in history, we’ve pretty much established what Ben Wallace was bringing to the table on the hardwood: defensive anchor, incredible shot-blocker, indefatigable rebounder, terrific hedger while defending the pick-and-roll, couldn’t make a free throw to save his life.

However, in his nine years as a Piston, one fact has consistently slipped under the radar: Ben Wallace was a clutch playoff performer.

Within the recent chapters of the Pistons history book, a text long on Chauncey Billups miracle threes, Richard Hamilton mid-range J’s, and Rasheed Wallace’s altercation-motivated Finals domination, Ben Wallace often gets relegated to the ever-broad “They couldn’t have done it without him” status. But take a look at some of the most important Pistons playoff games of the 2000s and you’ll begin to notice: Ben Wallace frequently went big when it counted most. Consider:

  • 2002 NBA Playoffs – First Round, Game 1: After earned their first division title in over 10 years, Wallace, the recently anointed Defensive Player of the Year, scored 19 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in his postseason debut.
  • 2003 NBA Playoffs – First Round, Game 7: Wallace finished three steals short of completing an elusive 5×5 statline against Tracy McGrady and the Orlando Magic. He finished with 7 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, and 2 thefts in a closeout blowout.
  • 2004 NBA Playoffs – Finals, Game 5: Chauncey Billups may have been named Finals MVP, but it was Wallace who provided the overwhelming finishing touch, torching Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers for 18 points and 22 rebounds in the championship clincher.

Still, of all of Wallace’s stellar playoff performances, none may have been as unlikely as his out-of-body experience against the Nets in Game 7 of the 2004 Eastern Conference semi-finals.

In Game 6, with the Pistons on the verge of elimination, Wallace grabbed 20 rebounds in his team’s gritty victory, forcing a do-or-die showdown at The Palace.

A rabid Pistons fanbase awaited the Nets back home in Auburn Hills for the series closer (sidenote, remember when the Pistons fanbase could be described as rabid and no one would bat an eye?) Doing his best Fats Weller impersonation, Pistons’ play-by-play legend George Blaha kicked it off.

The joint is jumping, what’d you expect?

With flames shooting to the roof and a Detroit crowd displaying an outward passion bordering on bloodlust, the Pistons were ready to come out firing. And they did… by letting Ben Wallace shoot jumpshots.

Wallace scored the Pistons’ first four points, the first bucket coming in the form of a reverse dunk, the second via a 17-foot mid-range jumper.

But Ben was just getting started.

Ben Wallace Shooting
This much is apparent: Wallace was feeling it.

Wallace would go on to hit eight of his first nine shots. Most stunning fact of note? Half of those field goals were mid-range jumpers, nearly all of which hit nothing but the bottom of the net.

His final jumper, a 21-foot heat check late in the third quarter, left Wallace retreating back down the court with his follow-through lingering in the air, milking his Jordan-vs.-Blazers moment for all it was worth. Wallace’s shot pushed the Pistons lead over the defending Eastern Conference Champions to 25 points, effectively ending the Nets’ season with a quarter to spare.

When it was all said and done, Wallace had tallied 18 points on 8-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds in a 90-69 victory, propelling the Pistons to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance and ultimately leading them to basketball’s holy grail.

Looking back through history, many are quick to point to Tayshaun Prince’s block on Reggie Miller, Chauncey Billups’ clutch shooting in the Finals, or Richard Hamilton’s hot hand against the Pacers as the primary means by which the Pistons won their third NBA title. And to be certain, all those examples are valid. But after slipping under the radar for the past 11 years, Ben Wallace’s out of body experience against the Nets finally deserves its due.

2004 Pistons to be featured as classic team on NBA 2K16

Time to bust out the novelty afro wigs and No Fly Zone wrist bands, because Ben Wallace and the 2004 Detroit Pistons are back. On XBox One, PC & Playstation 4, that is. Longstanding basketball video game simulation NBA 2K16 announced Thursday afternoon that the 2003-04 Pistons will be featured as one of 12 newly … Read more

Two-time Pistons: Returning to one’s Detroit roots isn’t always fruitful

As the old saying goes: you can’t go home again. Or can you?

A litany of Detroit Pistons have not hesitated to test the Home Again Theory over the years, sometimes not by choice (sorry, Tayshaun). Here’s a quick glance at how things have gone for Pistons making their way through metro Detroit on their second go-around. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t always been pretty.

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10 Moments That Defined the Pistons’ 2004 Championship Run

As has been making the rounds on the information superhighway of late, only three teams in NBA history have won an NBA championship without a single player on its roster who’d won an MVP award either prior, during, or following his squad’s championship run: the 1989 Pistons, 1990 Pistons, and the 2004 Pistons. Today, we’re … Read more

Flashback Friday: That Time When the 2004 Pistons Wouldn’t Stop Dunking on the Bucks (VIDEO)

Feeling glum about the Pistons’ 1-3 start heading into tonight’s showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks? Then let us take you back to a time where a date with the Bucks meant impending Detroit domination. In game 1 of their first round series against Milwaukee in ’04, the Pistons forced 24 turnovers, finished 12 dunks, and made … Read more

The 10 Greatest Dunkers in Pistons History

We know. You’re wondering, “There’s 10 great dunkers in Detroit Pistons history?” In a word: kinda. We’re here to breakdown Detroit’s top above-the-rim finishers, counting all the way down to the most spectacular high flyer in Pistons history. Is Andre Drummond’s breakneck dunk pace (167 crams in 2015 alone) enough to catapult him into the top 5 … Read more

Remembering the 2004 Detroit Pistons

10 years ago, a 10-year old kid who had just begun watching the game of basketball was watching a Detroit Pistons game at his home in Garden City, MI. He watched a team with swagger, defensive intensity, a team who had fun, and a team that played the right way. The boy became enamored with … Read more