Ian and I may have been AWOL this weekend, but there were plenty of fans and writers who weren't. Since they actually had a chance to watch the games, let me borrow some of their observations.
First, Friday's game, in which the Pistons defeated the Wizards for the first time since 2004-05 to the tune of 100-91:
Lindsey Hunter was the first guard off the bench when Chauncey Billups got into early foul trouble. Lindsey's defense was just what the Pistons needed with three steals, a blocked shot and 12 timely points.
Wallace and Prince each scored 20 points Friday night, and on most possessions there seemed to be a concerted effort to get Wallace the ball early on, something point guard Chauncey Billups said the team must continue to do if teams go small.
"So once they start going really small, even if they try to front, it still doesn't help them because he is just so long and we just go to him," Billups said. "And if they don't double, then they got trouble. And if they do and he kicks it out, they got trouble either way, so pick your poison."
More from Silva:
Another way to beat opponents' small-ball tactics has been the Pistons' zone defense, which they played most of the second half.
"Zone was very, very good for us," Saunders said. "I guess through nine games the one constant factor has been that when we played the zone for extended periods of time that is probably when we've played our best basketball."
Saunders said that when the Pistons play zone, they tend to communicate better.
On Saturday, the Pistons evened their record at 5-5 with a win over Yao Ming and the Rockets. It took a 28-14 effort in the fourth quarter, but the Pistons won 104-92
Yao Ming put up 33 points and 16 rebounds against Detroit, but not enough to beat our boys in D-town. Yao is averaging 26.4 ppg and 10.4 rpg. This man is having one hell of a season. Its a shame he’s going to hurt is toe at some point…
Although Rip led the team with 30, Rasheed was the most valuable player of the game. His defense down the stretch helped the Pistons pull away in the fourth quarter holding Yao to just two points.
Rip Hamilton had one hell of a performance in that same game against Houston: 30 points, 7 boards, and 8 assists. Keep it up, Rip. While our defense stabilizes and continues to learn, we’ll need big offense out of you. Kudos, brother.
The Pistons' energy picked up with 5:11 left in the second half. That's when the officials called a technical foul on the Detroit bench. When asked to clarify who it was on, official Leon Wood said "all of them."
But at halftime, the referees had the scorers credit the technical to Wallace, giving him his fifth this season.
"We're talking to the league as we speak," Saunders said after the game. "If anything, it should have gone to (assistant coach) Ron (Harper)."