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dirt_dobber
11-09-2005, 10:17 AM
Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Pistons 102, Kings 88

Cheap shots motivate Pistons

Before rout, negative images of Detroit are shown at ARCO Arena during introductions.

By Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Rasheed Wallace offered up this little bit of advice to the Sacramento Kings organization after the Pistons ruined their home opener Tuesday, 102-88.

"Don't tread on thee," he said.

Before the game, as the Pistons were being introduced, the Kings ran a series of extremely negative images of Detroit on the giant overhead scoreboard screen. One image after another, abandoned and dilapidated buildings, burned out cars, desolate and garbage-strewn streets, on and on until the introductions were complete.

Most of the Pistons were unaware of the montage, but coach Flip Saunders saw it.

"I don't know if it fired them up, but it fired me up," he said. "I have only been here three months and I took offense to it. I just don't think that's right."

Saunders said he would be shocked if Kings owners Joe or Gavin Maloof had anything to do with the display.

"I know them pretty well, and they've been nothing but class," Saunders said. "I am sure they had no idea that something like that was going on. It's (crap). Especially in our league right now. Commissioner David Stern has made a statement that he wants this league to be classy. To do something like that was uncalled for."

Saunders was right. The Maloofs didn't know. The montage was apparently the work of Kings game-night operations director Leland Patton, who would not comment.

"It was a terrible mistake," said John E. Thomas, president of Maloof Sports and Entertainment. "That's not us. That's not how we do things. We apologize to the great Detroit Pistons organization and to the people of the city of Detroit."

Thomas, like the Maloofs, hadn't screened the pregame introductions. He saw it for the first time live.

"There's no explanation," said Thomas. "It was a mistake and it won't happen again."

Just to be sure, the Pistons left the Kings with another image to ponder -- being on the bad end of a Detroit beat-down.

Consider that the Pistons hadn't won in Sacramento since 1996 -- eight straight losses. Consider, too, that the Kings' record against Eastern Conference teams since 2001 was 57-3.

And then consider that the Pistons had a 21-point lead with six minutes left, sending the fans streaming to the exits, and you get the magnitude of this performance.

"We needed to get this game," said Chauncey Billups, who scored 16 points with eight assists. "We haven't won in this building since we've had this team together. We needed to get this monkey off our backs."

As much as anybody, though, the night belonged to Tayshaun Prince. After scoring 27 points against Toronto, he took on Kings All-Star Peja Stojakovic, and lit him up. Prince scored 19 points in the third quarter, and finished with 25, hitting 10 of 13 shots.

"I was able to get it rolling, and once I am in that situation, I am going to shoot until I miss," Prince said. "Obviously, with the coaching staff we have, they want me to do that. And my teammates were advising me to do that."

At the other end, Prince limited Stojakovic to nine points, on 4-of-13 shooting. In his last three games against Prince, Stojakovic has averaged 12.7 points on 13-of-42 shooting.

"It was just a bad effort," Stojakovic said. "I was really bad on both ends of the floor."

The Pistons effectively knocked the Kings' offense out of rhythm by bothering their main feeders, Brad Miller and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

"Our bigs did about as good a job as we could have asked of them," Saunders said of Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. "Everything Sacramento does is geared towards getting the ball at the elbows and our bigs did an unbelievable job of defending the elbows."

The Pistons had 12 steals and converted 21 fastbreak points -- beating the Kings at their own game.

Rasheed Wallace had four steals and a block, to go along with 10 points. And he didn't pick up a foul.

Richard Hamilton added 21 points.

Maurice Evans, a former King, celebrated his 27th birthday by scoring 12 points.

"Just getting a win, that was a great birthday present for me," he said.

The Pistons start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1996-1997.

As for the pregame slap at Detroit.

"That was cold," Billups said. "But I bet they don't do that again."

.

EricaLubarsky
11-10-2005, 12:41 PM
Detroit Free Press - Although the Sacramento Kings apologized Wednesday for displaying negative images of Detroit during pregame introductions, the NBA began an investigation into the incident that could result in fines.

Before the Pistons beat the Kings, 102-88, Tuesday night at Arco Arena in Sacramento, fans were shown a montage of negative images of Detroit on the scoreboard above center court. They included abandoned buildings, boarded-up houses, burned cars and piles of construction rubble.

Pistons players said they hadn't paid attention to the video display. But when they heard about it, they weren't happy.

"I still have a lot of pride," guard Chauncey Billups said. "That's where I live. That's my home now. I still have a lot of pride in that city. I love that city. I'm always going to defend the city of Detroit."

Pistons coach Flip Saunders said the incident fired up the coaching staff for the game. Wednesday, after hearing from the owners of the Kings, he cooled down a bit.

"Their organization has always been very first-class," Saunders said. "Opening night, sometimes they get really excited about trying to do some things, and some of their people, they just really weren't quite thinking all the way. They overstepped their bounds a little bit."

Kings president John Thomas saw the video for the first time live from his seat.

By halftime, he had pulled the tape for a private screening and began the process of finding out how it happened. By Wednesday afternoon, the Kings had purchased full-page newspaper ads to issue a direct apology to Detroiters.

"The Sacramento Kings sincerely apologize to (Pistons owner) Mr. Bill Davidson, the entire Pistons organization, the fans, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and the people of the great city of Detroit," the ad - which appears in Thursday's Detroit News and is scheduled to run in Friday's Detroit Free Press - reads in part.

Thomas also e-mailed Pistons president Tom Wilson to offer his plea, and Gavin and Joe Maloof - the brothers who own the Kings - called Saunders to offer an apology.

"This isn't the way we do things," Thomas said. "I can tell you that after this grievous error, we have deep, deep regret. We're reviewing all our systems so that this will not happen in the future."