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Winning is helping Pistons come together

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — Sometimes the Pistons dressing room turns into a comedy club as teammates toss one liners as easily as they pull up for 3-point jumpers.

Of course the jokes are all good-natured.

Players pick on the rookie Spencer Dinwiddie — because he's a rookie.

Greg Monroe or Andre Drummond sometimes make fun of teammates because of their wardrobe or a slip of the tongue.

But what is evident is the players are bonding, becoming brothers as the wins pile up.

They've bought into coach Stan Van Gundy and his system, which has brought tangible evidence it's working.

"That is great," guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said of winning. "It gives us confidence going into the second half. We came out of the break with great effort. Now let's get the rest of them."

The next of the "rest of them" is a tough one — at home against the Cavaliers tonight.

And if the past two games are any indication — the Pistons placed all five starters in double figures in a victory the Bulls and then placed six in double figures in a rout of the Wizards — tonight's matchup should be exciting.

The Cavaliers have won their last two games by an average of 16.5 points.

"It is going to get better each and every day," Caldwell-Pope said.

The Pistons are 9-2 in games where at least six players score in double figures — twice during the 5-23 start (both victories) and nine times the last 46 games (7-2).

"Everybody is in the right spot," Pistons center Andre Drummond said. "We are spreading the ball around and finding guys."

Caron Butler believes the foundation for the team's recent success was laid during the preseason. During a team meeting at a Washington steakhouse, teammates vented, talked openly and embraced when it was over.

"We had that foundation to go to," Butler said. "You see it with guys. When those things went down (5-23 start, Brandon Jennings injury), everybody was like, 'What are you guys going to do now?'

"It is going to be tough times and adversity is all about how you figure it out. We rallied around each other. We moved forward and kept it going."

Prince might start

Van Gundy is leaning toward starting Tayshaun Prince at small forward tonight.

Prince returned to the Pistons officially last Sunday after he was traded from the Celtics last week. He would replace Butler, who started the last two games after Kyle Singler was send to the Thunder.

"His length is really good for us," Van Gundy said of Prince. "We come off the bench with more guys who know more stuff and we can do more things, which is almost more important.

" He was also playing well in Boston."

Prince averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals in nine games coming off the bench for the Celtics. He shot 55.9 percent, 62.5 percent on 3-pointers.

terry.foster@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/terryfoster971

Cavaliers at Pistons

Tip-off: 7:30 tonight, The Palace, Auburn Hills

TV/radio: FSD/WMGC

Outlook: The Cavaliers have won eight of their last 10, including the two games since the All-Star break. ... The Cavaliers, in second in the Central Division behind the Bulls, added free-agent C Kendrick Perkins on Monday.