NEW YORK, Jan. 18 -- Detroit Pistons head coach Flip Saunders will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars for the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Saunders and the Pistons’ (31-5, .861) coaching staff earned the honor to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars as a result of Detroit’s 117-89 defeat this evening of the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland’s (20-16, .556) 90-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets, clinching the best possible winning percentage in the Eastern Conference through games of Feb. 5, 2006.

Head coaches for the East and West All-Star teams are based on teams with the best winning percentage in each conference following the Sunday games (Feb. 5) played two weeks prior to the All-Star Game.

Having coached the Western Conference All-Star team in 2004, Saunders becomes the sixth coach (Larry Brown, Alex Hannum, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Lenny Wilkens) in NBA All-Star history to coach both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star team. In his first season as head coach of Detroit, Saunders has earned Coach of the Month honors for the months of November and December.

All-Star starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference will be announced on Feb. 2 and the All-Star Reserves will be announced on Feb. 9.

The NBA All-Star Game will be televised live nationally on TNT in the United States and on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada at 7 p.m. CT/ 8 p.m. ET. Live audio broadcasts are available on ESPN Radio and on in multiple languages.

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