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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pistons notes - Jan. 5

AUBURN HILLS — The adjustment of getting everyone back from injuries has not went smooth for the Detroit Pistons, who are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. But the schedule makers did the Pistons a favor with a few days off as of late.

The Pistons (11-21) have had four days off and three practices since losing to Chicago on Dec. 31 and have used that time almost as a mini-training camp.

“We needed to make sure we got re-focused on the little things,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “When you get into an environment where we haven’t had the success as of late that we wanted to, we got to start back at the basics.

“The biggest thing is to get better,” Kuester added. “Get better with energy, how we’re playing offensively and defensively. Take each possession and value it. That’s what we have to do, value what we’re doing every time we step out on the floor.”

Veterans Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have played a combined 12 games this season due to injuries and the extra practice time has not only helped them get back into the swing of the things, but also helped their teammates adjust to having them back.

“We didn’t have all our guys since the first game of the season,” Hamilton said. “I know it’s tough. We want to win. The way we lose sometimes is horrible. We get frustrated just like everybody else. As long as we just stick together, we’ll figure a way to get out of it.”

The time off is nice, but the game schedule doesn’t get any easier for Detroit, which plays at Dallas tonight and at San Antonio Wednesday. The Pistons have four of their next five on the road, where they are 3-13.

Detroit is hoping the return of veterans Hamilton, Prince and Ben Gordon will help ease the road woes.

“That’s what we’re hoping, getting those guys back will give us a situation where we have some leadership, especially being on the road and know how it is to win on the road,” Kuester said.

New challenges for rookie
Rookie Jonas Jerebko was welcomed to the NBA by being inserted into the starting lineup for Tayshaun Prince, who has built a reputation as one of the top defensive small forwards in the NBA.

Jerebko held his own defending the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Now Jerebko has a new set of challenges. With the return of Prince, Jerebko has been moved over to power forward in the staring lineup.

Jerebko has started three games at power forward and has a huge challenge this week when he faces two of the best power forwards of all-time in the Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki and the Spurs Tim Duncan.

“I need some practice at it, but it’s getting better and better each day,” Jerebko said of playing power forward. “Dirk is a very good player so I’m just going to do my best.”


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