Ugly: That would be the best word to describe the Suns’ two-point victory over the Pistons. The Suns held a multiple-possession lead late, yet allowed Detroit to get back into the game on a night when neither team played well at all. Phoenix and Detroit combined to shoot 27.5% from three, and 12 players between the teams shot below 50%.
Regardless, the Suns finished the game with a victory, thanks to a go-ahead layup by Eric Bledsoe, with time winding down in the final period. Markieff Morris had a block to help seal the win, which almost resulted in disaster as the ball squirted back out to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was open for three, but he was unable to hit.
The Suns allowed the Pistons to rack up 15 offensive rebounds, while managing just five themselves. This was certainly a key factor in the game, as most of the other statistics between the teams were neck-and-neck, except for shooting percentage. The Suns shot about 12% better than the Pistons from the floor, but the Pistons attempted 12 more field goals and six more free throws, again, due mainly to their effort on the offensive glass.
Neither the Suns nor the Pistons looked crisp early, and it showed on the offensive side of the ball. The Suns managed to score just nine points in the first six minutes of play, which would project out to 72 points for an entire game. Phoenix started the game 0-of-4 from three, and it took nearly six minutes for someone other than Markieff Morris or Goran Dragic to make a basket.
Fouls were also an issue for the Suns, as three different players had picked up four fouls before the end of the third quarter. By no means was the performance by the Suns cosmetically pleasing, but the bottom line is that the Suns picked up their second straight win, improving to 4-2 over the last six games.
The 10th Anniversary: “Malice in the Palace”
The Suns and Pistons were facing off on an anniversary of sorts, as this game occurred ten years after the infamous fight that took place during a game between the Pistons and Pacers. There was a bit of a brush up early in the game, as Markieff Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had some words for each other, which caused a bit of a stir across twitter.
Regardless, nothing came of the dust-up, and there certainly weren’t any players going into the stands and fighting with people.
P.J. Tucker back from suspension
After being suspended for the game against the Celtics for missing the team bus, P.J. Tucker didn’t waste any time getting involved, as he led the team in points in the first half, on the way to a 16-point performance. Tucker also hit a couple of key buckets when the Suns’ offense stalled. Case in point, with about five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Pistons went on a run to cut the Suns’ lead down to 58-55, and on the next possession, Phoenix went to P.J. Tucker, who buried a three to put the Suns back up six. The Garbage Man also chipped in with seven rebounds, in addition to playing solid defense against Josh Smith.
Dragic comes out firing
Two days after dropping 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds against the Celtics, Goran Dragic got off to another hot start. The Dragon had six points, two rebounds and two assists in the first seven minutes of the game, and his early offense was especially crucial as the Suns were struggling mightily to shoot the ball. Dragic would also go on to record the Suns’ first basket of the second half, connecting on his signature step-back jumper.
Checking in on the young guns
After registering his first career NBA basket in a win over the Celtics, T.J. Warren was looking to put in a second consecutive solid performance. It didn’t take him much time to get going:
Warren’s final numbers weren’t necessarily anything to write home about, as he would finish with a couple of points in a steal in six minutes of play. However, Warren continued to show that he can hold his own against NBA competition, at least in short stretches, and he continued to show flashes of how effective he is at finding lanes to fill on the court.
Alex Len on the other hand continued his run of solid play, when he managed to stay on the court that is, as Len found himself in a bit of foul trouble. Len picked up four fouls in his first ten minutes of play, but his overall performance in the game was certainly a positive for Phoenix. The Ukrainian big man finished with six points on 3-3 shooting, and and he added four rebounds in just 16 minutes.