Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/28/11
AUBURN HILLS -- Pistons fans are well aware that the glory days of the mid-2000s are over. But that doesn't mean they aren't ready and waiting for a rebirth of the proud franchise. A sold-out crowd of 22,076 watched the energizing opening ceremony, which featured the Eminem song "Lose Yourself" and the gospel choir from the Chrysler commercial, Mason's booming introductions and the stirring first-half ceremony which saw new owner Tom Gores raise a banner above the banners of the retired numbers in tribute to the former Pistons owner, the late Bill Davidson. Then the same fans watched the Pistons fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in demoralizing fashion, 105-89. The Cavaliers shot 57.1 percent for the game, out-rebounded the Pistons 40-26 and outscored the Pistons in the paint, 52-36. Greg Monroe, who saw plenty of lackluster crowds as a rookie last season, hopes the fans will stick with them while they try to straighten things out. "That's something that definitely was a good thing," Monroe said of the fans. "We have to do a better job of making sure we use that to our advantage and make sure we put on a good show and get wins for those people." New coach Lawrence Frank likes to preach defense, which has always been a staple of the great Pistons teams, but so far it's been a real challenge. "When things aren't going well for us offensively, it's tough," Frank admitted. "We surrender a little bit to the things going on during the course of the game. That's what we're going to have to learn to fight because offense comes and goes, that's the reality of the game. But defense has to be a constant." He might not be a constant performer yet but rookie Brandon Knight was the best thing the Pistons had going on the court Wednesday night. Knight came off the bench and shot 10-of-13 for 23 points, plus had six assists, two steals and two turnovers in just under 29 minutes. "It was awesome," said Ben Gordon, who led all scorers with 25 points. "It was great to see him come out and give us a lift that we needed and play the way he did. We'll need more performances like that from him throughout the year if we're going to be the team we need to be." Knight just turned 20 earlier this month. He shows signs of becoming a star. It might be best to let him loose, start him as a rookie with Rodney Stuckey in the backcourt and have Gordon come off the bench. Knight was undaunted as a rookie at Kentucky and it's unlikely that he would shy away from such a challenge in the NBA. Frank wasn't talking about making any moves like that Wednesday night but he was impressed with what he saw from Knight. "Brandon's spirit was right, his heart was right," Frank said. "He obviously was very excited to get out there on the home court. I thought Brandon played very well." Knight, Monroe and Jonas Jerebko are the building blocks for the future, one that could and should be bright. The fans may not sell out the Palace every night this season, but they will be there when the team is ready to win again. It's something that Gores spoke about with the media before the game. "I want this (the Palace) to be an exciting place to be," Gores said. "I want Detroit to be an exciting place to be, and I think we have the beginnings of that because in Detroit, we have some of the best people in the world. I'm grateful to be here. (Opening night) is about celebrating Detroit and its comeback. We're coming back, that's what we're doing. "We're coming back. We all have to feel it in our hearts. I know I do. I have for a long time. I feel like I've been trained for this my whole life. I've been in sports my whole life, I'm from Michigan. I feel like I am so ready for this challenge, to help Detroit come back."
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