Justin Rogers over at MLive.com's Full-Court Press spotted a great article in the New York Times on one of the secrets to Detroit's success the past few years:
Analysts sing daily praises to the Pistons' gritty defense and their laudable teamwork, but their greatest strength may be, simply, their strength.
The Pistons do not miss games, at least not in bulk. They bleed and they bruise, but they do not bow out. Their starting lineup — guards Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups, forwards Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace, and center Ben Wallace — is as stable as Mount Rushmore.
Pistons do occasionally turn an ankle, however. Rasheed Wallace did in Game 3 against the Cavaliers, but he has not missed a game. Hamilton rolled an ankle in Game 1 of the first round, against Milwaukee. His teammates' first response?
"We all push each other every day," Hamilton said. "You go down with an ankle sprain, I don't care how severe it is, guys are over your back telling you, 'You ain't hurt.' "
"We don't allow each other to take days off, regardless of what it is," Hamilton said. "Not every team is that way. Some guys get injured and they feel they're in a contract year or they shouldn't play because blah-blah, all the different stuff. Us, man, if you feel sick, we're going to talk bad about you."
I excerpted some of the more interesting quotes, but Pistons strength and conditioning coach and budding celebrity Arnie Kander is also credited for his "unconventional methods and his blending of Eastern and Western medicines." I guess it's worth keeping articles like this in mind when guys like Rip and Rasheed look a little sluggish out there -- perhaps on another team, they wouldn't even be playing at all. For what it's worth, in case you missed it, just about every newspaper or game preview has Rasheed saying his ankle is about 75 to 80 healthy right now.
You'll probably need a NY Times username and password to access the full article, but it's free to sign up and a nice thing to have (or, of course, use BugMeNot.com).
For the Mighty Pistons, Winning and Durability Go Hand in Hand [New York Times]