What: Phoenix Suns (11-9) vs. Detroit Pistons (5-16)
When: 7:00 PM
Where: Phoenix, Arizona
Watch: Fox Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
The Pistons have completed a couple upsets over some contenders after taking down the 76ers and Lakers in the same week, but still sit in last place in the East at 5-16. Detroit also defeated Phoenix in early January by the score of 110-105 in overtime. That was the game that the Suns led by as many as 24 points and still couldn’t close the door.
The Suns just got it handed to them on ESPN against the Pelicans on Wednesday night, so if they aren’t motivated and laser focused for this one then that would be alarming.
Detroit was originally slated to play a back-to-back in Denver and Utah, but the first game in Denver was postponed due to contact tracing. The Jazz defeated them on Wednesday by a score of 117 to 105. They are in the midst of a 5-game Western Conference road trip, and will take on the Lakers in the 2nd of the back-to-back on Saturday.
Phoenix Suns: Dario Saric (OUT), Cam Payne (OUT), Jae Crowder (DOUBTFUL), Abdel Nader (QUESTIONABLE).
Detroit Pistons: Wayne Ellington (DTD), Jahlil Okafor (DTD).
Suns- Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Deandre Ayton
Pistons- Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee
3 Keys to the game
1. Three point shooting: Live by the 3, die by the 3
The Suns have shown that if their shots aren’t falling, they don’t really have a consistent plan B offensively this season which is disappointing.
Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson look to be in shooting slumps as they are combined 4-for-24 from deep in the last two games. Mikal has missed 11 straight three point attempts, so they’ll need the “twins” to both snap out of their mini shooting slumps, especially since Jae Crowder figures to be out tonight.
2. Big Man Rotation
The Pistons play much larger than most teams in the league, as evident by their trio of Grant, Griffin and Plumlee in the starting unit. Deandre Ayton needs to stay out of foul trouble and Frank the Tank needs to continue his hot stretch of play off the bench with Dario Saric out yet again.
Keep an eye out for possible Jalen Smith minutes should one of Ayton or Frank get in foul trouble.
3. Backcourt Chemistry: Balancing Paul & Booker
In games where Paul and Booker each get into a rhythm the Suns are tough to beat, and tonight their chemistry will be of the utmost importance since they figure to get outplayed by the Pistons bigs. The guards will need to offset that to balance things out and help them close the game out should it be a close affair in the 4th quarter.
The Suns decide they are proud to own the three point zone and take down the Pistons in convincing fashion, 117-to-106.