Heartbreak struck in the Motor City as the Phoenix Suns fall to Detroit 110-108 on a last second layup by Josh Smith that sealed the Suns’ fate.
In the first quarter, the Pistons’ defense was oppressive, causing havoc and creating transition points for Detroit. This gave them a 35-21 lead, going into the second quarter. The Suns battled back and forth with Detroit, but the deficit was 64-51 going into halftime. In the third, the Suns shaved the lead to ten, but in the fourth quarter, things got interesting.
Part way through the final period, a couple three-pointers by P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye tied the game up at 92 apiece.
The game was tied again at 105, when the incredible happened.
On a broken play with the shot clock winding down, Josh Smith hoisted up a three from deep that splashed in, forcing Phoenix to come up with some plays. After a Barbosa missed three, Tucker missed put back and a Suns timeout, there were only four seconds left and Phoenix needed to inbound the ball.
Gerald Green ran off a few screens and got free for a three on the wing. He almost drained it, but Josh Smith swiped at him and caught his arm.
Green apparently has ice in his veins as he calmly stepped up and made all three, tying the game at 108.
In the span of only three seconds, the lefty Smith caught the ball, drove right, was hedged by Frye, but despite jumping off the wrong foot and using his weaker hand, he made the crazy layup and Phoenix only had one more shot at a victory.
Again coming off multiple screens, Green, who made a fadeaway jumper to seal the victory over Minnesota just a few days earlier, caught the ball and hoisted from deep in the short corner. The shot didn’t fall and thus Phoenix’s hopes were dashed.
The Suns offense was really balanced as the high man was Channing Frye who had 21 points. Marcus Morris and P.J. Tucker both added 17 points, while Tucker made it a double-double with 11 rebounds. Goran Dragic and Gerald Green both scored 15 as starters. Only problem was Green was a severely inefficient 5-17 shooting and Dragic only shot the ball nine times.
Ish Smith produced off the bench with a team high +12 plus/minus. He only scored two points, but finished with four rebounds, six assists and a couple steals while running the offense pretty well.
Detroit’s starters, except maybe the rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, are pretty good stat stuffers. They are solid and when the Pistons get some better shooters and these players gain some experience, this team will be going places.
The frontcourt of this Detroit squad all finished with double-doubles. Josh Smith had 25 points on an efficient 11-16 shooting, along with 11 boards and five assists. Greg Monroe finished with 20 points, adding 12 boards (SEVEN which were offensive rebounds) and four assists. The 20-year-old Andre Drummond finished with an impressive stat line of 13 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and five blocks. That’s incredible!
Point guard Brandon Jennings only scored eight points, but was dishing out assists like nobody’s business. He finished with 18 dimes, which is the most of anyone this season. He also added eight rebounds. Will Bynum also added 16 points off the bench, helping seal the victory.
Phoenix really didn’t stand a chance as they gave up 68 points in the paint.
Another heartbreaking loss on this brutal road-trip isn’t good for the Suns’ record. They’ve already lost to the Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies and now the Detroit Pistons, all who are under .500 on the season. The East Coast trip finishes up Monday against the 14-22 New York Knicks.