Let the Second Half Begin

Ben Gordon knows that every game counts now.
Paul Bereswill/NBAE/Getty
After having four days off of work, the Pistons took back to the court with an evening practice on Monday night. With the exception of Greg Monroe, who participated in the All Star festivities in Los Angeles, the entire team and coaching staff got a chance to relax, regroup and recharge while taking a break from the game of basketball. Many of them went back home to spend time with family and friends and most of the players ventured out to enjoy warmer temperatures than that of the snow blizzard that has recently engulfed metro-Detroit.

The All Star Break marks the halfway point of the NBA season and serves as a measuring stick to determine just how close or far off the team is to reaching the playoffs. At this point the Pistons are 4 1/2 games back of Indiana for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There are 25 games left on Detroit’s schedule and realistically they need to win 15 or 16 of those remaining games to be a contender.

“You look at the first half and you just come in basically with a more positive mental approach and just try and really get a streak going,” said Ben Gordon on evaluating the first half of the season. “Every game counts now, especially if we’re talking about trying to get into the playoffs so it’s pressure time.”

That sense of urgency rings true among the team as a whole and they all agree that they all have to be on board in order to make a turn in the right direction.

“Yeah, anything is possible,” said Tayshaun Prince on the Pistons making it to the playoffs. “But everybody (has to) have the right mindset, players and coaches have to be on the same page. It starts tomorrow.”

It starts Tuesday when the Pistons host the Rockets at The Palace on Tuesday night. The second half of the season begins and Detroit can continue to feed off of their energizing 115-109 overtime win against the Pacers; the very same team that they visit in Indiana this week on Wednesday.

“We beat a good team, an Indiana team, that’s been playing really well and we’ve shown that we can play great basketball,” said Tracy McGrady on moving forward with the second half of the season. “You know the Adidas slogan ‘anything is possible’. We (have to) play consistent basketball…hopefully everybody is recharged.”

“It was important for us to win going into the break against Indiana and that allowed us to hopefully get going into things after the break,” said John Kuester after the team’s first practice after the All Star Break. “We’ve got four games in five nights. We know we have our hands full so taking it one game at a time now.”

A win on Tuesday against the similarly struggling Rockets, a team that McGrady knows well, could help Detroit sky-rocket toward building the momentum needed to win games and improve their chances of making it to the post-season.

“It’s good to go up against some of the guys that you went to battle with every night on the basketball court with for so many years,” said McGrady on facing his former team. “It’s just going to be great and I’m looking forward to it.”

While playing against former teammates can build a sense of urgency during the course of the game, it seems to be the consensus that playoff hopes are the main driving force for the Pistons.

“It’s a long season so guys are constantly searching for different things to motivate them and trying to get into the playoffs is something that should motivate us more than enough,” said Gordon. “I think that’s what we’re playing for right now- trying to get into the playoffs and try and secure a spot.”

With 25 games left in the season the Pistons will look to unify their efforts to do just that.