Tonight the Suns look to bounce back from a pathetic tough loss agains the Hornets Thursday night and test their 4-0 home record vs. the Detroit Pistons. Like the Suns, the Pistons are coming off a loss, with Detroit falling in overtime to Utah, 100-97. Tonight marks the end of the Pistons four game West Coast road trip, in which they are 0-3 thus far, losing to the LA Lakers, Utah, and Portland by an average of nearly 5 points. The only double digit loss was to the Lakers.
The Pistons should be tired after a tough loss to the Jazz last night. Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Ben Wallace all played over 40 minutes. Look for the Suns to push the tempo early and try to run Detroit out of the building.
- At 5-8, the Pistons have lost 4 in a row and occupy the cellar in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference.
- Ben Wallace has made it back from his very short tenure with the Suns, along with his consideration of retirement to average 9 boards a game.
- The Pistons shoot 30% from 3 point range. Rodney Stuckey and Co. penetrate well though, so the Suns may go with the zone. Let's hope the Suns wear their rebounding shoes tonight.
- Detroit has been playing without Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton due to injury. Hamilton has been battling ankle injuries while Prince has had problems with his back. Neither players are expected to play tonight.
- The lineup of Bynum, Stuckey, Gordon, Wallace, and Villanueva is a combined +24 this season, and not surprising, is the second most used lineup the Pistons use.
Ben Gordon is a certified Suns killer, averaging 24.9 points versus the Suns in his career. He is coming off a 25 point, 47 minute performance against the Jazz. Rodney Stuckey brings high energy to the floor. Look for him to test the Suns bigs early and often as he attempts to get to the rim. Wil Bynum is averaging 14.5 points per game, but isn't a three point threat, leading the Pistons with a meager 4 assists per game.
Charlie Villanueva is a solid big, averaging 15 and 5. Ben Wallace is typical Ben Wallace but a little older, averaging 9 boards a game and 50% from the free throw line. Jonas Jerebko is a 2nd round project from Sweden. He has been starting of late, but not doing anything exceptionally well, with 4.7 points a game and nearly 4 rebounds a game. Jason Maxiell goes 6-7, 260 and averages nearly a block a game and 3 rebounds off the bench.
Offense: Detroit averages 92.6 points per game, (26th in the league). Detroit shoots 45.2% per game (18 in the league). Phoenix averages 109.8 points per game (1st in the league). Suns shooting 48.7% per game (tied for 1st in the league)
Defense: Detroit allows 92.9 per game (4th in the league), allowing opponents to shoot 43.3% FG. Suns allow 106 points per game (27th in the league), allow opponents 48% FG.
"The way we played, the effort we brought and this is no offense to them, but we would've lost to ASU."
-Grant Hill, on the loss to New Orleans
"We can't keep playing from behind and then think we can make our way back. It's important to get off to a good start, so when we do make a run, it's not to get even, it's to get a lead."
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 11/22/09 1:40 PM MST ]
At shoot around this morning I talked to Suns VP of all things Player Related and Various Other Scouting and Trading and Cutting and Signings, David Griffin. Taylor Griffin is destined for a stint with the Iowa Energy this year where he will get a lot of floor time playing the Small Forward - a position he's transitioning into after playing the PF in OK.
No specific time-line for his assignment given but the Suns have a plan in mind. So expect that to happen sometime between today and perhaps March or April.
Jarron Collins' contract does not become guaranteed until the January 10th date when all contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season. If Jarron is cut before then his salary won't count against the Luxury Tax. Right now the Suns are happy with him and say that his staying or going isn't directly tied to Robin Lopez' return. Reading between the lines my guess is that he will stick around at least for several more weeks with the big decision coming near that Jan 10 date.
As for this game, it has blow out written all over it.
The Pistons are going to be tired after playing OT last night and bummed about losing and the Suns are pissed about the way they played in New Orleans. Do not be surprised to see Phoenix up by 10 at the end of the 1st quarter. In fact, I would be surprised if they aren't.