Phoenix Suns 92, Detroit Pistons 75 -- Defensive lockdown

The Phoenix Suns had yielded over 75 points in 388 straight games, according to Elias, before Friday's defensive lockdown. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Phoenix Suns had yielded over 75 points in 388 straight games, according to Elias, before Friday's defensive lockdown. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

On a night in which millions celebrated a new year, the Phoenix Suns turned over a new leaf and held the Detroit Pistons to a remarkable 75 points en route to an easy 92-75 win Friday night.

“It was a much needed win for us; I thought we were aggressive from the start,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry told “We did a good job defensively. I thought we did a good job offensively too, as far as moving the basketball and getting shots. I thought we executed well on both ends of the court.”

It was evident early that the Suns’ Thursday practice dominated by defensive drills paid off. The Pistons scored just 14 points in the first quarter followed by 18 in the second quarter.

“Just like how frustrating the last game was [I've] got to tell you that it was a totally different team today and a huge, huge step forward,” Marcin Gortat said. “We did everything that we [talked] about the day before and [gave] a tremendous effort.”

Obviously something clicked. Phoenix forced Detroit into a half court offense that stifled any sort of run that would have allowed the Pistons back in the game.

The Suns led by 10 at the end of the first and 18 at halftime.

In the second half, with a big lead, Phoenix let up on the gas a bit but still held Detroit to just 26 and 17 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

“It should be easier for us to stay with this defense; we’ve just got to work hard,” Gortat said. “You’re not going to win a game at half speed or with only 80 percent effort. You’ve got to give everything that you’ve got and just finish the game and your tank must be empty.”

New Sun Vince Carter led Phoenix in points with 19. He also added eight rebounds and three assists.

Goran Dragic played 29 minutes, 10 more than Steve Nash. The backup point guard had eight points and five assists, and Phoenix outscored Detroit by 20 with Dragic in the game.

“I felt great on the court; I was just trying to make the right plays, involve the other players and just be aggressive on defense,” Dragic said. “Like I said, every game counts, so today I had a pretty good game. [Now] I have to play hard and good the next game. That’s how I’m going to get my confidence up.”

Not only was Detroit’s 75 the least amount of points Phoenix has allowed all season, this contest ended the Suns’ streak of 388 straight regular season game of allowing at least 76 points, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, which was the second longest streak of its kind behind only Golden State’s run of 593 consecutive games.

Friday was also the first time all year the Suns won a game without scoring more than 100 points.

Phoenix was riding a four-game losing streak heading into the game and needed a win badly to stay afloat.

Even though the defensive turnaround was put in against a bad Detroit team, it’s still a huge step in the right direction for a Suns squad that has been flat for the last week.

In their last game, the Suns allowed the 75-point mark to be reached by the 76ers at the 7:30 mark in the third quarter.

  • KJ Loyalist

    From a defensive standpoint, you can’t take anything from this game really. These were the Detroit Pistons. Even in their championship year(s) they weren’t scaring anyone with their potent offense.

    What I did take from this game, (even outside of Detroit’s now-bad defense – they are the Pistons), was that the offensive spacing seems to be working itself out and the idea of a “pure second unit” is taking a back seat to more of a “blended middle ground” where certain bench players will come in with the starters, and when those starters / bench players come out, more starters / bench players come in.

    I think that while the roster is constructed the way that it is, we’ll see a lot more of this.

    What I love seeing is a *slight* shift in the offensive philosophy – something I showed a youtube clip of where, instead of Nash constantly using a big off the PnR, they’re beginning to use a ton of Vince Carter in that role which is still allowing a good seal of the pick man because VC is so big.

    At the same time, it’s allowing the bigs to remain relevant in the offensive rotation as Vince can fade out to the perimeter OR dive hard, (keeping the spacing intact), while the proper people, (our bigs), remain around the rim to catch deep-position-passes or be in the area to seal an extra man for a team-rebound attempt.

    Gentry seems to be further adjusting his SSOL “training” to benefit the players he has. This is what I’ve been talking about in terms of breaking down what we’ve known and getting ready for the future. If this game holds the blueprint for what is to come, (again – they were the DETROIT PISTONS), then the doom and gloom won’t be a reality.

    It was Detroit though. They’re horrible.

  • Jed

    I still wish Childress would get playing time, though. I like that Warrick didn’t play.

  • Nuri

    This is the 2nd lowest score the opponents were held to during the Nash era and the best since ’06.

  • elway

    “It was Detroit though. They’re horrible.”

    Upset the Boston Celtics by a good margin the other night, they aren’t as bad you put them out to be, Instead of sh*ting on the suns defense, credit it because the defense is what won them the game. If this is what the future brings and it is going to be a good year.

  • Lloyd

    I really like the presence of Gortat on defense.

  • JC

    This was much needed win. I am not going to judge the defense just yet until Phoenix faces the Lakers in 4 days.
    @Jed I also wish Childress would get some playing time, but I think the coaching staff probably will sit him down for another week or 2 to properly heal his finger. He will probably come back and take minutes from Vince Carter at the 2 or 3 or even 4.
    As for Warrick, I think that the front office is probably looking to trade him if he doesn’t improve on the defensive end and could be trade with some picks to a rebuilding team with cap space for a young pure power forward.

  • Evan

    The best thing is Nash had a horrible game (7pts 2 asts 5 turnovers in 19 min)yet the suns blew out Detroit from the opening tip. This whole year Nash has had to do everything, he is putting up huge numbers and is getting no help, hopefully this continues and when he does have a good game it will be icing on the cake.

  • KJ Loyalist

    @elway -

    Boston had a bad game. That is going to happen.

    This new attitude means nothing through 1 game, (against the terrible Pistons), until they can lock down teams with lights out scoring.

  • John Wake

    I thought Warrick was doing good! Better than I expected, anyway. Seems a natural for the PnR. Is his defense bad?

    And about Gortat, I haven’t been this excited about a Suns big acquisition since Jake Tsakalidis… well that didn’t turn out so good but I hopeful. Gortat doesn’t seem to be the Herman Munster type.

  • AJ

    More or less agree with KJ loyalist, though I think I’m a bit more optimistic than him/her. While these were the pistons, we horrible against philly and it is nice to see the Suns are still capable of blowing out teams (so we might not be that bad after all).

    @John wake,-
    Warrick was doing good offensively (for the most part) but he is really bad defensively, I his defense was essentially non-existent.

  • justin

    i’m glad this game was against the pistons because it will build the confidence of the suns’ defensive game. there were two things going on that are unusual to watch in a typical suns game: good rotations, and boxing out. two very simple things that take a little extra effort than normal (but that nonetheless, should still be considered normal and has to be done). basically, the suns defensive effort was just that – effort – that has been missing previously. we’ll see if they can sustain it as the season progress, especially after a tough/close loss.

    i really liked Warrick simply because he was basically Amare Lite on the p’n’r with Nash, some of the similarities in the way he rolled to the basket was eery, and the way Nash delivered him the ball was the exact same after Warrick learned how to run it. that being said, his defense has been keeping him from playing. sad affair.

    childress – i’m hoping his lack of playing time is simply just because of his finger. he’s been limited in his capabilities because of it.

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