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Wednesday Free Press link fest

Thanks to The Dunk, there's a slew of Pistons articles in today's Free Press. The Rip Hamilton movement was one highlight, here are some others:

  • Rookie report: How I spent my first road trip
  • Jason Maxiell:

    How'd you pass the time? "It's a lot different than being in college. In college, you had classes between games, but now you've got basketball and that's about it. I spent a lot of time on the phone with my girlfriend. She calls me all the time."

    Amir Johnson:

    Do you get in on the in-flight card games? "That's too much for me, too much money."

    So after your next contract? "Right."

    Alex Acker:

    How big is that per diem? "It's big as hell. It's like $600 (for the week), and you're trying to save every penny you get. You're trying to save it, but you've got to eat. And the hotels we're staying at, they're really expensive, the room service. I'm trying to get a pizza here and there to save money."

  • : Saunders says he's not superstitious. He just likes his rituals, that's all.

    "You're used to doing the same thing, you get into a pattern, and you don't like to break it," he said.

    Especially amid a six-game win streak, eh? That's why before Tuesday night's game against the Celtics, Saunders made his ritualistic trip to Kentucky Fried Chicken. He stops there for dinner before every home game.

    "I get the same thing every time," he said. "Get a meal, that's it. I've done that since I was in the CBA. Started winning, just kept with it -- and I like chicken."

    Other superstitions -- or OK, rituals -- include listening to Barry White on the car ride to the arena for each home game.

  • Hot topics
  • THUMBS SIDEWAYS -- Intimidation factor

    Just sticking close to the Pistons appears to be a badge of honor for some teams. "Nobody has been giving us credit, but hey, we almost beat the Detroit Pistons," Blazers forward Ruben Patterson told reporters after losing Friday in Portland. "People around the world who watched that game will give us credit now." They don't have the menace of the Bad Boys, but they've got Portland scared.

  • MICHAEL ROSENBERG: A year later, Palace brawl still too fresh
  • One year ago this week, Ron Artest was lying on the scorer's table at the Palace. I'm going to take a real flier here and guess that you've heard the rest of the story, so let's fast-forward to Artest charging into the stands.

    You know the guy Artest went after? I was the guy next to that guy. On the video replay, you can clearly see me, the stunningly handsome guy who looks like he's soiling himself.

    In truth, I wasn't really scared. I was just stunned, because I had turned to look at Ben Wallace jawing at Artest, and when I turned back, Artest was 10 feet from me, and heading into my row. (I had moved up from press row to get a better look at the action. Uh, I got it.)

  • On his political affiliation: "I don't want to get too personal."