Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has been a fixture at the annual NBA All-Star Game, but the franchise that drafted him with the 11th pick in 2005 has been missing from the league’s top showcase.
The team has never won a championship, and its fans are not nearly as passionate as they used to be.
But it still plays the biggest game of the summer, and Gores is making the most of the occasion.
“The NBA is the biggest thing in the world, so it’s a great time to be here, and I think it’s been great for the team,” he said.
“And you have to have fun out here.
We’re in a great place, a really great place.”
As part of the annual All-NBA weekend, the Pistons host the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first-ever matchup on the NBA’s marquee stage.
The Pistons are 3-0 this season, and the Cavs are just 2-7.
Detroit has played well in the preseason and has won four straight games, but a loss Friday night at Miami would have been a huge blow to its chances at a championship.
The Cavs, who have lost three straight, had a great first half but let the Pistons outlast them in the second half.
“We got outplayed,” said guard Nate Robinson, who had 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Pistons, who went 4-6 last season, had to overcome a pair of injuries to key players, including shooting guard J.R. Smith, who missed his sixth straight game with a strained left calf. “
If we’re going to be successful, we’ve got to take advantage of every situation.”
The Pistons, who went 4-6 last season, had to overcome a pair of injuries to key players, including shooting guard J.R. Smith, who missed his sixth straight game with a strained left calf.
Detroit, which won a franchise-record 71 games in the 2006-07 season, is trying to return to the Finals for the first time since 2008.
The Cavaliers are the NBA champions, but they have missed the postseason in five of the last six seasons, missing the postseason for the fifth time in seven seasons.
They also have struggled with injuries, losing center Andrew Bogut, point guard James Jones and power forward Anderson Varejao to season-ending injuries.
But coach Byron Scott said the team has overcome a difficult schedule and is in good shape heading into the All-Stars game, which is scheduled for Wednesday night.
“They’re going into the weekend really ready for a big challenge,” Scott said.
The Warriors are trying to make it two straight All-Defensive first teams, and guard Andre Iguodala was among the stars in the NBA All of the Day, with 14 points.
He also added 10 rebounds and three blocks.
He scored 15 points against the Bulls on Tuesday, and he finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks in the Warriors’ 105-97 win over Detroit on Friday.
“He was in a lot of different spots and a lot more of a focal point than he’s ever been,” guard Shaun Livingston said.
Livingston has played in the All of The Day since last year’s All-Rookie team.
The Bucks, who finished last in the league with a 41-42 record, will try to make a second straight trip to the All Star Game.
Center Brandon Jennings, who has missed three straight games with a broken right hand, is expected to be ready to play in the final game.
Milwaukee (19-30) will play its final game of this season on Saturday at Dallas.
The Mavericks, who lost to the Pistons on Friday, have won three straight and are 3½ games behind the NBA playoff leaders Cleveland for the final playoff spot.
The Timberwolves are 1-5, but Minnesota has won seven of its last nine.
The Magic are 3 1/2 games behind Cleveland for a playoff spot and have lost five straight.
“You can’t have enough of a positive attitude,” coach Scott said after the loss to Detroit.
“When you’re at the All In, it’s just about making it to the finals.”