You’d think the Suns had a good chance at a win, what with the Pistons on the back end of a back-to-back and trying to re-introduce their point guard, Reggie Jackson, to the lineup.
But the Suns had better plans. They kept Devin Booker and T.J. Warren, their top two scorers, out due to nagging injuries.
Troy Daniels (18 points), Alex Len (19, 12) and Josh Jackson (15, 11) were the Suns leading scorers, but the bench could not offer much support and Blake Griffin got to have some fun in the win. Marquese Chriss got 10, 4 off the bench but most of that was in supreme garbage time.
Griffin spent much of the second half as the Pistons’ point guard, and came back into the game while the Pistons held a 20+ point lead against a G-league level lineup just so he could try to get a triple double (he didn’t. The Pistons called the mercy rule when they went up 26, with Griffin up to 26/10/9).
Suns lost. Atlanta won. Which means the Suns actually WON twice tonight. Yay!
Suns hold the top spot in the reverse standings.
The Suns won’t have Tyson Chandler, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, or any of the year-long “outs”. Big Sauce won’t be back till later this week, I guess.
The Pistons DO get Reggie Jackson back, but will be without Suns legend Jon Leuer. Otherwise, they are healthy and SHOULD win this game.
Suns: Elfrid Payton, Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Alex Len
Pistons: Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock*, Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and Stanley Johnson.
*remember Reggie Bullock, Suns fans? He was Davon Reed before Davon Reed. And was Alando Tucker 2.0. Now in Detroit, he’s averaging 11 points per game on 44% 3P shooting.
The Suns got out to a fast start, taking a 13-7 lead capped off by a Troy Daniels three pointer.
But that was the only three-pointer the Suns made all quarter, missing the other 8 attempts and shooting just 33% in the frame. Even worse, the Suns missed 5 of 6 free throws as well.
The Suns were saved in the opening frame by Josh Jackson, who had a monster 7 points, 6 rebounds to lead the Suns in both categories.
The Suns ended the quarter with a lineup of Tyler Ulis and Shaquille Harrison in the back court with Davon Reed, Jared Dudley and Alex Len along the front line. I’m guessing that’s the only time you’ve ever seen that lineup together.
Somehow, though, the Pistons were just as bad as the Suns, and it was a 19-19 tie after one quarter.
The Pistons lineup of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Reggie Jackson once had playoff aspirations. But they shot just 25% in the opening frame and come in having lost 8 of 10 games. Coach Stan Van Gundy spent half his pregame presser talking about how much he thinks about getting fired at the end of the season. From his own traveling Detroit media.
The Pistons woke up a bit in the second quarter, helped into the lead by the Suns continuing to miss threes at an alarming rate. Dragan Bender missed his first five threes before finally making one after hesitating to take it.
The Suns finished the half 2-18 on threes (ugh). TWO FOR EIGHTEEN. And only 2-7 on free throws. Making it easy on the Pistons with that ratio. And they didn’t make many other shots either, finishing the half at 36.2% shooting.
On the plus side, Alex Len finished his best half in a long time with 13 points (6-7 shooting) and 8 rebounds. Josh Jackson had 9 points (4-13 shooting) and 8 rebounds.
Pistons up 44-38 at half, despite shooting just 32% for the half. Yes, 32%. You read that right.
The Suns opened the second half with a pair of bricks, then a lazy pass that turned into a breakaway drive for a pair of free throws.
And that’s how it went.
The Suns kept missing jumpers, and the Pistons started making a few. And well, soon it was a 14-point Pistons lead.
And then the Pistons got comfortable. And the Suns got even more tankey, with Alec Peters at center in a tanktastic lineup of Ulis, Peters, Dudley, Jackson and Daniels.
Then the lead was 20 and Pistons were celebrating on made shots. The same Pistons who’d lost 8 of 10 games, and are 6 games out of a playoff spot with 11 to go. Sure, strut while you can guys.
The Suns had cut it to 16 by the end of the third quarter, so there’s that. Alec Peters actually made a three, capping off the Suns’ four threes in the quarter.
80-64 Pistons after three. At least the Suns won’t set a franchise low score tonight.
The Suns opened the 4th quarter with Davon Reed, Alec Peters and Shaq Harrison as the wings around Bender and Chriss. This would be a solid G-league lineup. No sure win, but hey they’d be competitive against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
A few minutes later Marquese Chriss got Ish Smith on a post-up, but got the ball stolen, and then got a drive to the hoop but was easily blocked. He’s frustrated. Very frustrated.
Blake Griffin came back in with the Pistons holding a 20-point lead with 7 minutes to go on the back end of a back-to-back. Griffin had a 21/7/8 line going, so maybe he wanted to pad his career stats with a triple double against the G-league Suns lineup?