The Phoenix Suns bounced back with a win over the banged up Cleveland Cavaliers last night in a much needed win. The Suns are currently in the midst of a 6-game road trip and they’re currently set to play game number three tonight against the underachieving Detroit Pistons team.
The Pistons future seemed rather bright this preseason with the addition of rookie Andre Drummond, and such promising young players already on the roster, guys like Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, it seemed like Detroit had a good chance to may sniff the playoffs this season, however Detroit began the season 0-8 and are now sitting in 4th place in a weak central division.
Heading into tonight’s match-up the Pistons are the favorite by 3.0 points according to ESPN.com but the Suns will look to overcome that and get back to .500 for the first time since their win over the Denver Nuggets over 2 weeks ago. Rodney Stuckey is listed as day-to-day on the injured list but he’s expected to play.
Keys to the game: Suns
– Big bullies on the block! The Pistons despite their size have been a rather poor rebounding team ranking 23rd overall in rebounds per game, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Luis Scola, have a field day guys!
– Aggressive defense. The Pistons aren’t exactly a talented offensive squad, and much like with Cleveland last night, that young Cavaliers team did not respond well to the rough and tough play, perhaps the Suns can try that again tonight.
– Contain the Piston big guys. Greg Monroe has proven to be a terrific scoring big-man averaging 17 points per game on the season and almost 20 points when playing at home. Andre Drummond is another factor, that kid is about as athletic as they come and a couple of highlight plays from him can very well impact the momentum of the game.
Keys to the game: Pistons
– Attack the enemy. The Suns are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights, pro-athletes or superheroes, they’re tired. The Pistons on the other hand have been in Detroit since Monday, and they haven’t played since Monday which means they are far more rested up than the Suns players are.
– Better ball movement. The Pistons are 16th in the league in assists per game, Brandon Knight’s ability to be a set-up guy was in question before he was even drafted and in his rookie year he had issues setting up his teammates. Knight has done a better job this season averaging 5.8 assists per game(up from 3.8 last season), but ball movement is a team effort, not just the point guard.
The X-Factor – Three point defense. The Suns are dead last this season in terms of defending the 3-point line. The Suns allow opponents to shoot on an average of 41% from downtown. To put it in prospective, the Orlando Magic(1st in the league) hold opponents to 31% shooting from downtown. The Pistons are a mediocre 3-point shooting team but Knight is shooting 43% from downtown on the year and this Pistons team can get hot from downtown in a hurry with guys like Knight, Stuckey and Corey Maggette who are very streaky shooters.
Match-up of the night! – Without a doubt it’s Brandon Knight vs. Goran Dragic. I love this match-up, Knight is a upcoming young point guard who had a fine rookie season and is having a decent sophomore year thus far. Dragic on the other hand is the successor to one of the greatest point guards ever and is having quite the year himself. Somethings that both guys have in common is their ability to score the ball, and absolutely light it up from outside.