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Following the Pistons from 6,000 miles away

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As Pistons fans go, not many jump through as many hoops as DBB reader Ohad does just to follow the team. For most of us, watching a game is as easy as turning on the TV, whether it's watching Blaha and Kelser on a local channel or being subjected to the "other" announcers on NBA League Pass. But when you're on the opposite side of the globe, it takes a bit more determination and creativity.
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By Ohad Ilovich

It's hard to be an Israeli basketball fan. It's even harder if you like watching the NBA. With the most complete sport package money can buy in Israel, you get one local league game, one Euroleague game and maybe two NBA games a week. Usually I don't watch the NBA games cause' they hardly ever put a Pistons game and usually go for the games where stars like Kobe, Lebron and other physically gifted players take over the game. Add to that the fact that most games are aired live at around 4am and you get the picture…

Now is a good time to thank god for the internet. I have to tip my hat to DavkaBT which has given me access to many stones games these past few months. Only problem with that can be described with the Detroit-Dallas game I downloaded recently. I had to spend the whole day at work warning whoever I saw not to talk to me about the game. I skipped reading DBB, the Israeli online newspapers, NBA.com and that sums up about everything I do online at work other than you know ... work. Upon getting home I had to wait until 9pm for the download to complete and sit down till 11. I couldn't even wait with it since next day the Spurs' demolition was broadcast and I was pretty sure the Dallas game would be mentioned, thus ruining it for me.

So why the Pistons? I think the first time I saw them play was when I was a big Michael Jordan fan. I'd like to emphasize that doesn't mean a Chicago fan. I just loved to see him play. I can remember vaguely the games Chicago and Detroit had back then (I was 13 in 1991) but I do remember the physical punishment Chicago suffered and all the hard fouls Jordan received. Even though I liked him and was happy he still did his thing I could appreciate the more physical aspects of the game. I kept watching the Bulls do their thing during the 90's but mostly I enjoyed Rodman's defense and rebounding and of course all his other antics. The end of the 90's spelled three years of mandatory army duty and when you come home for two days every other week you're not interested in basketball. Mostly, you're interested in women and alcohol. I only started really following the team once the worst problem child in the league joined them – Sheed. What can I say, I like players who get T's, bang around in the post and generally don't live up to the "code" David Stern tries to impose over the league.

Another reason to like the Pistons is that although the Raptors are considered the most "European like" team in the NBA (which I have to mention got Anthony Parker and Maceo Baston from my favorite Israeli team – Macabi Tel Aviv), the Pistons have a lot of the same qualities. European players are less athletic than you average NBA player. To compensate for that they focus on two things – high shooting percentage and basketball smarts. So basically you get a group of unselfish players who keep looking for each other and who can score on every position. Plus they are very good at exploiting mismatches especially after pick and rolls. Sounds familiar? Another thing about European basketball is that the big guys can usually shoot 3's well which opens up the inside for easier penetrations by the guards who as I mentioned aren't that fast and physical. Again this has become reality with Sheed's 3pt ability.

All in all watching the Pistons once or twice a week doing their thing is probably the first time I've enjoyed NBA ball other than watching Jordan. Now that I get to see some classic NBA games and I see him dropping 50, it isn't as fun as it was when I was 13. It's much more fun to see five guys play as a unit. And maybe, just maybe, even going all the way this year once again.