Posted: Friday January 6, 2006 4:10PM; Updated: Friday January 6, 2006 6:26PM
JOE DUMARS, Pistons president of basketball operations:
On whether the Pistons will try to break the Bulls' record of 72 wins:
"No. absolutely not. Because then you have to change who you are. We're not willing to do that. We're not willing to play the starters 40 minutes every night. We're not willing to not have our bench ready. It's completely unimportant to us. We would like to have the best record, but not at the cost of burning out our guys where they're not ready come playoff time."
On the motivation of his team:
"Our guys are motivated for a couple of reasons. It's ironic that you have to try to prove you are what you are when it's been going on for five years, but these guys feel like every year they have to come in and prove it over and over again. You're talking about a team that was five minutes away from being back to back world champs. These guys wanted to prove that, 'Listen, we had something to do with our success the last couple of years. So these guys have a lot of motivation going on here right now. They want people to appreciate and respect them for the basketball players they are, and they come with that mentality every single day."
On Flip Saunders' emphasis on offensive execution:
"We spend more time on executing. We run stuff and we get good shots. That's a testament to Flip and realizing that if we had a shortcoming that was it. He's turned that around immediately. I felt when we first signed him that we can bring our offense up to another level, if we can start to execute on offense as well as we execute on defense.
"Flip runs so many sets that we go over and over and over again. What's good about it is, you're trying to execute against great defensive players in practice. So when it comes to gametime you've practiced it and you've done it against some of the best defenders in the league.
"There's a reason we get these shots down the stretch. We execute throughout the course of the game but if you watch us the last five minutes of the game we really exec. We're not just throwing it to a guy and saying, 'Go one-on-one and win it for us.' We're coming down, we're cutting, we're screening hard and we're getting the shots that we want."
On what he saw in the Spurs during Detroit's 85-70 win on Christmas Day:
"They look to me like a team that knows who they are, a team that's geared to play into June. They come out, they give their game plan, they play as hard as they can -- but their mindset is (to play into) June, just like ours. They understand the important parts of the season. I never saw any panic in them, never saw them get dejected or down or acting like it's the end of the world."
On why Indiana can re-emerge as a contender this season:
"What they have there -- and it might be ironic to say this -- but they have pretty good stability within their organization. You say that with the Ron Artest situation going on, but Donnie (team president Walsh) and Bird (GM Larry) and Rick (coach Carlisle) are stable guys and that allows them to always be in position to be good team. You've got to have that stability within your organization."