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Phoenix Suns collapse late in regulation, fall to Pistons in overtime

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'Twas a great game for the first 43 minutes.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns had every excuse to mail this one in, having dropped a game in Brooklyn the night before and being without their starting frontcourt. Alex Len found himself in foul trouble early against Andre Drummond, which forced the Suns to go small with Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic splitting time at center. Surprisingly, the Suns thrived with this lineup and came thisclose to turning the game into a blowout in the second half.

Unfortunately, the Pistons surged late as the Suns' shots started flattening out. The Suns led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, but before anyone knew what was happening Detroit held a late lead. The final minutes was a cornucopia of miscues and heroism, with a Brandon Knight dagger, a Brandon Knight turnover, a highly questionable sucker-foul from Ersan Ilyasova and clutch freethrows from Andre Drummond to send the game into overtime

Look no further than that last item for an indication of how silly the end of regulation was.

The Suns continued to give fight in overtime, but clutch play from Reggie Jackson and a moving screen call on P.J. Tucker as Brandon Knight drilled the tying bucket finally sealed the outcome and handed the Suns their sixth loss in seven games.

The bench provided a healthy spark throughout the game as Leuer and Teletovic combined for 38 points and Devin Booker added a career high 18 on only 6 shots from the field. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight came alive after a sluggish first half to a combined 43 points, albeit on 40 shots from the field. Former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris added 23 points for the Pistons as Reggie Jackson led all scorers with 34 points.

Give credit to the Suns for showing so much fight on the second night of a back-to-back and in the midst of a grueling Eastern road trip, but the losses are piling up fast and this one is still a tough pill to swallow.

Onward and upward, as they say.

1st Quarter

  • Former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris starts with a hero shot from 25 feet. It missed
  • 2 quick fouls for Len, one on a driving Jackson and one on a posted up Drummond. This is not ideal. Teletovic in, Leuer moves to center
  • Pistons with three buckets on leakouts, all by their frontcourt. So Suns are going small, and are still getting burned in transition by a bigger team. Dios mio...
  • Suns shots are flatter than Nebraska so far
  • Former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris drains two from the stripe off of a very questionable foul on Leuer.  Suns respond with a pass to their own bench. 18-11 Pistons
  • Suns already with their B-Squad lineup. Teletovic, Booker and Warren all on the floor already with 4:23 left in the first. Teletovic at center, P.J. at the 4
  • Drummond with a JaVale McGee-esque goaltend. 24-16 Pistons

2nd Quarter

  • Another Drummond goaltend on a Teletovic floater, followed by a fastbreak layup by Warren. Don't tell anyone, but I'm enjoying this lineup
  • Devin Booker does not miss open threes. 30-26 Pistons after a mini-run by the Suns to close the quarter
  • I was gonna say that Booker is leading all scorers with 10 points, but I just realized that Ilyasova has 15. How the hell does Ilyasova have 15?
  • Warren gives the Suns their first lead on his patented 13-foot shotput. 32-31
  • Len looks lo much more comfortable on offense from 8+ feet out than he does when he's at the rim
  • Booker gets an and-1 to make it 13 points for the game; gets his wind knocked out but he's too handsome to be down for long. 39-35 Suns
  • Bledsoe with the drive and dump-off to Len for the flush. I will take more of these, por favor. 43-42 Suns
  • Teletovic tried going off the dribble and it ended poorly. Steal by Ilyasova, freethrows for former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris. 48-43 Pistons
  • Cory Jefferson sighting!
  • Cory Jefferson scores on Drummond!
  • Knight nails a triple, Suns hack a Drummond. Drummond misses both. 53-51 Suns
  • This game is more fun than I anticipated...I think
  • Jackson banks in a 45-footer to tie the game at halftime. 57 all. Bledsoe and Knight have only combined for 16 points, Devin Booker is your leading scorer for the Suns with 15 points on all of 5 field goal attempts. Looked rightly handsome whilst doing it

3rd Quarter

  • Former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris does his patented Carmelo Anthony improvisation. He missed
  • Leuer gets free for three off a Knight assist. 62-60 Suns
  • Drummond gets a fourth foul on Len. Would normally be an and-1, but with Drummond at the line it becomes an and-none
  • Bledsoe and Leuer with back-to-back triples and I'm giddy to type this. 68-62 Suns
  • Knight and Bledsoe starting to pick up the pace. 28 points after a slow start
  • Tucker expands his range, knocks down a straightaway three. Suns now 9-18 from deep, lead 80-72
  • Bledsoe isolates on former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris on defense, forces a TO
  • Suns having some fun with this small lineup. Stretching Drummond out like a fistful of Laffy Taffy. Making him run around all silly-like. Teletovic drains the latest 3-bomb. 87-77 Suns
  • Suns' small-ball wearing the Pistons out. 89-80 heading into the fourth

4th Quarter

  • Booker is too handsome to miss. Drains a suave 3-bomb to start the fourth
  • Leuer with a putback dunk and I am all misty so excuse me for a moment
  • And then another driving dunk from Leuer and I don't think I can communicate right now so please just imagine your own recap from here, ok?
  • Kentavious with an Airball-Pope. 96-82 Suns
  • Leuer with another driving layup and I really cannot function at present
  • Teletovic joins the fun with a driving layup of his own. Pistons are reeling right now. Small-ball getting it so done
  • Booker has mercy on the opposing mortals and passes up an open 3. Leads to a Tucker turnover. Don't show mercy, Devin. Ever. 104-93 Suns
  • Len back in. Not sure if this is a good thing, considering the developments of this evening
  • And the Pistons suddenly cut it to 5 on a KCP 3. Caps off a 12-0 run. 104-99 Pistons
  • Len yanked quickly for Teletovic. Lead down to one after a Drummond score
  • Pistons take the lead on a pair of Jackson freethrows. This sucks
  • Jackson knifes in to extend the lead to 3. 107-104 Pistons. Bartender...
  • Teletovic hits a hail mary to tie it back up. Drummond unties it immediately with a PnR lob
  • Leuer ties it again with a driving dunk and I really can't take this
  • Ilyasova suckers Teletovic into fouling on a 3PA with 38 seconds left and it hardly looked like a foul at all. Love seeing a game decided on such sound fundamentals
  • Ball does not lie, at least not completely. Ersan makes only one freethrow. 110-109 Pistons
  • KNIGHT WITH A DAGGER FROM 3! ASLDFKJWEOFNDSA
  • Knight taketh away with a turnover. Ugh. Pistons trail 112-110 with 19 seconds left. Chance to tie or go ahead
  • Why would Knight pass it at all??
  • Tucker fouls Drummond kind of on purpose but not technically. Drummond makes them both because Suns
  • Bledsoe misses an awkward 15-footer. Overtime it is

Overtime

  • Suns still going small with Teletovic/Leuer. Pay for it immediately with a driving dunk by Jackson
  • Jackson is putting the Suns in a blender now. Suns look gassed. Don't think this is gonna end well
  • Former Suns fan-favorite Marcus Morris hits a midranger to put the Pistons up 120-113
  • That's a very interesting time to call a moving screen on Tucker -- right as Knight's game-tying bucket splashes through
  • Be sure to tip your bartender