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Morning Shootaround: Losing streaks, Black Sheep, All-Star weekend, and more

Feb 121, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) attempts to block a shot by Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey (3)  in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 121, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) attempts to block a shot by Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey (3) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The Game

Pistons hit break on losing note | The Detroit News |
Greg Monroe admits that the team might have been looking ahead to the all-star break following the loss to the Raptors. Lawrence Frank, meanwhile, proves he has a way with words:

"We've shown what we're capable of: both ends of the spectrum."

That is saying a lot in just 11 words.

Toronto Raptors beat Detroit Pistons, end four-game skid -
Raptors fans were having such fun seeing the demolition of the Pistons that they chanted "M-V-P" for Aaron Gray, reports Doug Smith.

Toronto 103, Detroit 93: Rodney Stuckey (0 points) grounded by Raptors | Detroit Free Press |
Drew Sharp examines yet another disappearing act from Rodney Stuckey:

In the previous 11 games during the month of February, Stuckey averaged 17.5 points per game and got to the free-throw line 7.7 times per game. He also has played stellar defense. But Wednesday he attempted only two shots and didn't get to the free-throw line.

Raptors, Calderon take down Pistons
Eric Koreen talks about Jose Calderon's defense (or lack thereof) often overshadowing his superb passing skills.

Toronto Raptors 103, Detroit Pistons 93: Pistons enter All-Star break riding two-game losing streak |
Brendan Savage examines the keys to the game:

Big shot: Greg Monroe had game-high totals of 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons. He fell two points short of matching his career-high of 32, which came Jan. 12 in a 102-93 loss in Milwaukee. Monroe made 9 of 21 shots from the field and 12 of 16 from the free-throw lines.

The Team

Pistons are relearning the way to be winners | The Detroit News |
Pistons are trying to forge a winning culture says Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News.

Drew Sharp: Budding Pistons better off without a loser mentality | Detroit Free Press |
Drew Sharp says winning is worth losing lottery balls, especially as the anniversary of one of the franchise's darkest moments approaches.

An anniversary's approaching. It's nothing worth celebrating, but certainly remembering. The mutiny wasn't simply an embarrassment for the Pistons, it remains a popular reference point for those fed up with the perceived inmate-run, ego-driven asylum that has become the NBA. Several Pistons deliberately blew off the morning shoot-around in Philadelphia on Feb. 25, 2011, in an orchestrated protest against coach John Kuester. The players involved were justly criticized for their unprofessionalism and for basically not caring what people thought about them.

PISTONS: Hip-Hop Group Black Sheep To Perform At Halftime On February 28 When Pistons Host 76ers
The Pistons are returning to action by inviting their best halftime performers yet -- the 90s hip hop duo Black Sheep.

Detroit Pistons Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight excited about playing in 'JV game' during NBA All-Star weekend |
Brendan Savage talks to Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, who say they are excited to play in the "JV game" during All-Star weekend.

Pistons GM Joe Dumars wants more All-Star invites for Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe | Detroit Free Press |
Meanwhile, Dumars says that he hopes this weekend provides incentive for Knight and Monroe to improve their games.

"It's a nice carrot for them to be in the atmosphere down there, to be in an atmosphere where the best players in the world have been chosen -- just to be in that atmosphere," Dumars said last week. "It's a great carrot for those guys. If they want to continue to be invited to that weekend, they are going to have to continue to get better."

2012 Mock Draft | has the Pistons selecting Arnett Moultrie, a big man out of Mississippi State. I know they don't have any inside insight into the team's thinking, but it's a name I haven't seen thrown around a lot.


Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant added to 3-point contest |
"Thunder forward Kevin Durant will replace Atlanta's Joe Johnson (injured left knee) in the Three-Point Contest on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla."

Utah Jazz's Jeremy Evans added to NBA All-Star dunk contest | Utah Jazz Notes | The Salt Lake Tribune
"SALT LAKE CITY – The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans has been added to the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk that will be held on Feb. 25 at Amway Center in Orlando"

NBA Fans to Decide Dunk Contest via Twitter in Most Connected All-Star Weekend Yet - Yahoo! News
"For the first time, fans will be the sole dunk contest judges via Twitter, SMS and website-based voting. The league is also partnering with the social app Shaker to create a one-stop forum for fans to interact, chat and watch exclusive content."

Sacramento, NBA close to arena financing deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
"If the final details are resolved in time, a term sheet will be announced March 1 and the Sacramento City Council will vote on the plan at its March 6 meeting, possibly avoiding the relocation talk that surrounded the team last spring when it almost moved to Anaheim."