Gotta win some ugly ones.
Two nights after winning a high scoring thriller in Boston, Phoenix rolled into the Motor City with a fantastic opportunity. Games against sub .500 Detroit, Indiana, and Philadelphia, should mean three wins before a trip to red-hot Toronto to face the Raptors on Monday. While the Suns still struggle to figure out what lineup works, it's hard to argue with tonight's result, an 88-86 defeat of the Pistons.
On the 10th anniversary of the infamous "Malice in the Palace" between the Pistons and Indiana Pacers, the Suns came on top in a sometimes ugly affair Wednesday night.
An eight point Phoenix lead with under two minutes remaining evaporated as Gerald Green and Alex Len committed turnovers, Brandon Jennings knocked down a three-point jumper, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit two triples to take a one point lead with 34 seconds remaining.
An Eric Bledsoe drive to the hoop with 28 seconds left regained the lead, before Markieff Morris gave us the play of the game, blocking Jennings' layup attempt with five seconds on the clock.
This game stayed close throughout. Neither team built a lead greater than three points through one half of play. In the third, Phoenix managed to build a seven point lead, time and again erased by timely scoring from Jennings.
Five Suns scored double figures with Eric Bledsoe leading Phoenix with 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Isaiah Thomas struggled for the second game in a row. Two nights after shooting 1 of 8 and scoring 5 points against Boston, Thomas again scored 5 on 1 of 9 shooting. Miles Plumlee led the Suns on the glass, collecting 10 rebounds in 23 minutes.
P.J. Tucker was especially efficient in his return from a one game suspension. In 30 minutes Tucker scored 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds.
Detroit was led by Jennings, who scored 19 points and dished out 7 assists. Greg Monroe logged a double-double, scoring 18 and ripping down 12 boards.
After totaling 19 points and 7 rebounds on Monday against the Celtics, many have wanted to see increased playing time for Alex Len. Len did a little bit of everything on Wednesday. 16 minutes, 3 of 3 shooting for 6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls, and a pair of turnovers.
The Suns entered Wednesday's matchup as the league's 6th highest scoring team at better than 105 points per contest. Against Detroit, Phoenix connected on 49% of field goals. The Pistons entered as the third lowest scoring team in the NBA at 93 points per game and shot 37.9% from the field.