The Detroit Pistons didn't get a Godzilla like night from Andre Drummond and no one else on the team had a standout performance except for Reggie Jackson's tremendous fourth quarter. That sounds like a Phoenix Suns win right? It wasn't.
The Suns struggled to get in rhythm on offense throughout the entire game and lost 100-92.
The defining moment in the game would come with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Jeff Hornacek had all of his starters in except for Brandon Knight -- who would check in a minute later -- and was desperate for his team to find any sign of life on offense. Despite a couple of buckets for Markieff Morris, that never really materialized.
A 75-65 lead for the Pistons with 8:25 left was when the Suns had all their starters in the game, but they still couldn't make up the deficit while the three best players in the Pistons starting lineup that night got rest. Drummond wouldn't even check in until around the six minute mark.
Reggie Jackson was still doing work in the pick and roll and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a monster step-back three with four minutes to go just as the crowd was getting back into the game. That was followed by another answer three, this time from Marcus Morris. The Suns looked like they were finally ready to make up a deficit that was up for the taking since the second quarter, but the Pistons responded well and held off late for a big road win.
An Eric Bledsoe three to make it a one score game with just over two minutes to go wasn't even enough. Jackson made another huge play attacking the rim and then was fouled bringing up the ball. His two free throws made it a seven point game with 1:36 to go.
Jackson felt like he needed to top the night off with a signature play and hit a three from Stephen Curry range to make it a 10-point lead and send the fans home.
The Suns looked like they were finally ready to make up a deficit that was up for the taking since the second quarter, but the Pistons responded well and held off late for a big road win.
The first quarter was the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope show. I spent a good chunk of my game preview talking about KCP. He had 11 points in the first nine minutes of the game. Some of these shots were similar to the ones Gerald Green used to take in Phoenix, but KCP has more ability off the bounce and got a couple of good looks closer to the rim.
As some could have predicted, Markieff Morris picked up two quick fouls and basically begged for a technical after that foul call, sitting on the scorer's table to argue with the official before going to the bench. His brother Marcus had a rough start as well. We were curious with how the two would perform, especially if Marcus received a rough ovation, and we got our answer. Marcus started 1-6 from the field.
Another thing mentioned in the game preview was the Pistons lack of depth, and the reserves really struggled. Marcus Morris spent time with the second unit and they could get nothing going. A couple of great T.J. Warren plays near the basket brought the game within 3 early in the second quarter.
Despite an ugly first half for the Suns, the Pistons were never able to truly take advantage of this. A quick run at the end of the second quarter brought the game back to one possession and after 37% shooting, 4-14 from three, and nine turnovers, the Suns would take that.
Same situation here in the third quarter. Game was up for grabs and the Suns couldn't hit shots. Not a lot of movement on offense, but once again it's not like the Suns were not getting good looks. Markieff got it going in the third quarter, with three baskets that all looked good. His brother did as well. Two straight threes, including one right in Markieff's eye was a good run for the former Sun The breakthrough for the Suns felt like it was going to eventually come. It was just a matter of who was going to step up.
Jon Leuer came into the game as the center, which has happened before this season, but not against a monster like Andre Drummond. Markieff was actually the one guarding Drummond on the other end. Both teams failed to really take advantage of it early on, despite both using the players involved. The Suns also did Hack-A-Drummond for one possession and we didn't really get to see the full conclusion since Drummond picked up his fourth foul. It was odd to see Hornacek do these things to Drummond since he didn't have much of an impact on the game up to this point.
Bledsoe started the fourth quarter and that was a sign to me that Hornacek knew where the game was at. Four of Detroit's reserves were in and this seemed like an optimal time for the Suns to take over the game. That was further emphasized by Markieff and Tucker checking back in a minute later, followed by Chandler 30 seconds later. The Suns had four out of five of their starters in the game with 10 minutes to go, but they still couldn't kick down the door.
Knight checked in with 8:25 left and the score at 75-65, giving the Suns all five starters on the floor. That didn't matter though during that five minute run. Jackson was rolling and both KCP and Marcus hit two humongous three-point shots to keep the momentum.
Another installation of Hack-A-Drummond had him go 0-4 from the line and the Suns were finally able to grab some serious momentum. An Eric Bledsoe three with 2:10 remaining made it a one score game. Jackson had some more great plays late that I noted above in the small recap. What a great fourth quarter for Jackson.