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Weekend wrap; Pistons pound Bulls and Cavaliers

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Seein' Red

Perhaps we should have listed the Chicago Bulls on our recent poll of the most hated Piston rivals. Or perhaps not, since the Bulls--after turning some heads last season by making the playoffs for the first time in the post-Jordan era--have returned to sub-mediocrity and are nowhere near deserving of "rival" status. But if the image of Kirk Hinrich shoving Rip in the chest stokes your Chi-town disdain, check out the comments of Bulls coach Scott Skiles after the Pistons' 95-87 win.

"They literally complain about every call all night long," Skiles said. "They are having a great year doing it. I'm not sure what that says."

You and I both know that the Pistons have a tendency to complain to the officials--a lot. But to be called out by Scott Skiles? Skiles was a whiner during his playing days and is just as much of a brat now that he's on the Bulls' bench. Don't worry--the irony of Scotty's comments was not lost on the Pistons. Coach Flip had this to say in today's Detroit News:

"Besides," Saunders added, "the complaining (Friday) started with Scott Skiles. As soon as his team fell behind by 10 points, he was halfway out onto the court screaming after every call. He saw another 30-point loss possibly brewing and he changed the entire complexion of the game."

The chippy play combined with a barrage of personal and technical fouls masked horrendous shooting nights for both Sheed and Chauncey, who were a combined 5-27 from the field, including 1-15 from three. But as is typical of these Pistons, both found other ways to factor into the Bulls' demise (Rasheed with 10 boards; Chauncey with 12 dimes).

One last thought on this one--the Bulls have themselves a player in Andres Nocioni. Judging by how much I hate the guy (and right now, two days after the game, I'm still hoping he gets hit by a bus), he must be doing something right from the Chicago fan's perspective.

Save some for tomorrow, guys

I doubt I'd have believed it had anyone told me on Friday that the Bulls game would be the more competitive, intriguing game of the weekend. But it was. The Cavs came into town this afternoon with none of the fire that the Bulls displayed on Friday night, and the Pistons walked away with an easily obtained 90-78 win in their first of two in two nights against Cleveland. And as always--as Big Ben goes, so do the Pistons. And Ben was at his best today, blocking five shots, grabbing 19 boards, and stealing 4 to go with his 11 points. He even had a couple of his patented air-ball midrange jumpers, which phased Ben not.

"I at least want to make the other guys guard me," he said. "I know that when I'm getting involved on offense, it gives me more confidence and energy."

Hey, whatever works. Ben's elevated play as of late should put the Pistons back atop most power polls. And they've now won 7 of 8 just in time for a tough four game road trip in the next six days.

As for the Cavs, Lebron had another statistically impressive, completely impact-free game. And let's just say that Damon Jones--aka "the monster that Shaq created" [we thank you for that one, Kenny Smith]-- should be receiving a nice little bonus from Lindsey Hunter in the mail after this game. Jones, by scoring zero points in 23 minutes and doing nothing to justify his enormous ego, continues to be the only point guard in the league who makes Lindsey look offensively proficient. It was good to see Flip change up the gameplan mid-stream today, calling upon Rip to initiate the offense in the fourth while Lindsey was in the game. [For the record, I give Lindsey credit for being a dogged defender and an asset in the trap, but I still feel that Carlos Arroyo's offense will be missed.]

Pistons 95, Bulls 87 recap [ESPN]
Pistons 95, Bulls 87 box score [ESPN]
Cleveland pays a call, and it will be desparate [Detroit News]

Pistons 90, Cavs 78 box score [ESPN]
Pistons 90, Cavs 78 recap [ESPN]