When: Tonight, 7:00 PST
Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix AZ
Watch: Locally: FSNAZ; Outside AZ: NBA League Pass (Free Trial)
After losing what should have been a nice comeback victory against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns are now faced with either continuing their lackluster start against another inferior opponent tonight in the Detroit Pistons, or proving that they are better than their initial display of inconsistency and missed jump shots.
The Suns will be at home once more tonight before embarking on a three-game road trip against the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, and Charlotte Bobcats. So if they intend on gaining some momentum and establishing some rhythm to their offense, tonight is their best chance to do so.
The Detroit Pistons are coming off a 105-96 Wednesday night loss to James Harden and the Houston Rockets after being up 11 points in the 4th quarter. The Suns can expect the Pistons to be hungry for their first win just like they are, with both teams looking to prove they are better than they played in the first game.
Goran Dragic vs. Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey - Although both Stuckey and Knight are starters at the guard position, they can both run the offense and switch between roles depending on what look is more beneficial. It's difficult to predict which player will see the bulk of time matched up against Dragic, but either way Dragic should still have the upper hand.
Marcin Gortat vs. Greg Monroe: This should be the best match-up of the game from an outside perspective. Both Gortat and Monroe are productive, skilled, and effective centers who each have certain advantages over the other. Greg Monroe is better at using his body to get into position to score and secure rebounds, and his passing is incredible. Gortat is probably a tad more agile, and probably has a little more outside range. Both players have a nice mid-range game, good footwork, and can run the floor very well; but Monroe has already proven he can be the first option on offense when need be, something Gortat has yet to prove without Nash.
Luis Scola and Michael Beasley vs. Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell: Both forward positions is by and large the Suns biggest match-up advantage against Detroit. There's no reason the Suns shouldn't look to exploit these match-ups early and often. However, will the Suns get the 29 point 10 rebound version of Beasley that they saw in the preseason, or the 2-9 shooting defensive sieve they saw against the Warriors who was benched for PJ Tucker?
Suns Bench vs. Pistons Bench: While the Suns bench has been a bit of a concern thus far, the Pistons' bench is loaded with talented young players, some of whom many Pistons' fans believe should be starting. Andre Drummond, Jonas Jerebko, Kim English, Kyle Singler, and Will Bynum are likely to give the Suns' reserves all they can handle tonight. Will the Suns' bench be ready to step up to the challenge?
The Bottom Line:
This is gut check time for the Suns. Regardless of the individual match-ups they face tonight, the Suns biggest obstacle is probably themselves. Can they regain the offensive flow they demonstrated in the preseason? Or, will they continue to make poor decisions and jack-up long range shots even when they aren't falling? Are they going to pull themselves together after a gut-wrenching loss and handle their business at home? Or, will they continue to under perform? All we have are questions right now...Hopefully we start getting the answers we're looking for tonight.