Pistons set to return to Detroit after several days in Dallas amid winter storm

Mike Curtis
The Detroit News

After nearly five days of being stranded in Dallas due to severe icy weather, the Pistons are finally headed back home to Detroit.

The team is currently on the plane and will take off shortly, which should have them back in Detroit on Thursday evening. The plane is the one used by the New Orleans Pelicans — according to league sources — who flew in to Dallas on Thursday afternoon to face the Mavericks.

The NBA was forced to postpone Wednesday's home game between the Pistons and Washington Wizards because of the team's travel issues in Dallas, which part of an ongoing winter storm in North Texas. The league revealed a rescheduled date will be announced at a later date.

Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots over Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, in Dallas.

The Pistons originally were scheduled to fly back to Detroit shortly after their 111-105 loss to the Mavericks on Monday night. However, the winter storm, combined with their plane's logistical issues forced the team to sit idle on the plane for several hours.

The conditions did not improve Tuesday or Wednesday, which forced the team to remain in Dallas until Thursday afternoon. The Pelicans, who played the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday, could not depart for Dallas until Thursday, according to national NBA reporter Marc Stein.

Despite the abundance of downtime in Dallas, the Pistons were able to practice from the Mavericks' practice facility on Wednesday.

Longtime Pistons radio announcer Mark Champion tweeted his excitement to depart from Dallas, while also acknowledging a few members of the organization.

"What a great family we have in the Pistons. Wheels up for Detroit," Champion wrote. "Thanks for outstanding jobs by the staff led by coach (Dwane) Casey, (assistant general manager) George David, (senior director of basketball administration) Britta Brown, (vice president of social and community responsibility) Erika Swilley and our fantastic security and athletic training staff. A blessing to be part of this family."

The Pistons are set to host back-to-back games at Little Caesars Arena on Friday and Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns, respectively.

Pistons to host HBCU night vs. Suns

Saturday's game against the Suns at Little Caesars Arena will be recognized by the Pistons as "HBCU and NHPC Night," to celebrate the significance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Fans in attendance will be encouraged to participate in several in-game events to learn more about HBCUs and the NHPC, which is comprised of nine Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The festivities also will include a pregame stroll off on the concourse of Little Caesars Arena and on the court, featuring various NPHC organizations from Wayne State. Central State University's marching band, also known as the Marching Marauders, will perform during halftime.

Alpha Kappa Alpha member Chiara Clayton will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," along with the National Anthem prior to the game.

This event is the first of several activities throughout the month of February that the Pistons have planned to celebrate Black History Month, another example of the franchise's continued efforts to promote diversity, equality and inclusion. Last week, the organization took over 100 employees on a tour of the Zekelman Holocaust Museum in Farmington Hills.

Hornets at Pistons

▶ Tipoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM

▶ Outlook: The Pistons (13-39) will play their first game in four days when they host the Charlotte Hornets (15-37) on Friday night. Detroit beat the Hornets in Charlotte in overtime on Dec. 14. The Pistons likely will welcome the return of guard Hamidou Diallo after he missed Monday's game due to a non-COVID illness. He was listed as probable for Wednesday's postponed game against the Wizards, so he could be back in the lineup Friday.


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2