The Detroit Pistons began the year strongly thanks mostly to star players Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. But it was key contributors from the bench who helped propel the Pistons past the Suns, 100-92.
With Drummond sitting to begin the fourth quarter due to foul trouble and Detroit clinging to a six-point lead, it was Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver who stepped up the most.
Blake made the necessary point guard-y passes and Tolliver made shots and played incredible defense down the stretch. Detroit was actually able to increase its lead during the first five minutes of the fourth with Drummond and Jackson on the bench.
Then the starters came back on the floor, and Reggie Jackson took over. Jackson used his explosiveness to get into the lane and make a series of floaters and tough layups, as well as hitting a dagger 3-pointer that sealed the win. He scored 14 points in the final six minutes of the game.
Drummond finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds. Jackson finished with 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Marcus Morris struggled early but broke out late. Not only did his team earn the win, but he outplayed his brother, finishing with 20 points and six rebounds. Markieff Morris played well, but needed 21 shots to get his 18 points.
If there was one thing to be concerned about, it was the Pistons' dreadful free-throw shooting, including the return of gross Drummond foul shots. Dre was just 2-of-13 from the line and hack-a-Dre late allowed the Suns to get within three points late in the game.
The whole team was dreadful from the charity stripe, shooting just 18-of-36.
The Pistons were able to compensate for their poor foul shooting with another stellar defensive effort, holding the Suns to 40.2 percent shooting on the night. The Suns were led by former Piston Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe, who each scored 22.