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Pistons vs. Suns preview: Pistons look to bounce back in the Valley of the Sun

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After Monday’s bad loss to the Clippers, the Pistons are looking to move forward

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Can we just pretend that Monday’s game did not happen? In case you missed it, the Pistons were absolutely run out of the gym by the Los Angeles Clippers, 114-82.

Granted, the Clippers are a very good team and they look primed to challenge the Warriors for Western Conference supremacy. But there is simply no excuse for an NBA team to lose that badly. The defense was terrible, nobody could make a shot and the Clippers were firing on all cylinders; a recipe for disaster for the Pistons.

Detroit hopefully will put that behind them, and look forward to a less challenging game against a Phoenix team on a back-to-back.

Game Vitals

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena - Phoenix, AZ

When: Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 9:00 p.m.

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

Obviously, the Suns are not on the level of the Los Angeles Clippers. They come into this game with a 2-6 record. However, they should not be taken lightly, they are better than their record shows.

They have beaten the Trail Blazers once, lost by six to the Warriors (!) and lost by three to the Trail Blazers last night. They also have blowout loses to the Kings and Clippers, but they are a young team and that does tend to happen with young teams.

The Suns’ strength is in their backcourt, led by Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker, with former Piston Brandon Knight coming off the bench. Bledsoe and Booker won’t fool you into thinking they are on the level of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, or Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but they are very good.

The Suns also have T.J. Warren, who is having a breakout year for them at the small forward position. Warren is averaging 21 points per game, shooting nearly eight more shots per game, and has also tripled the amount of free throws he shoots per game. He’s also shooting a career-low TS percentage of .530, but his production can’t be discounted.

The Suns’ issues lie in their frontcourt. Phoenix has a couple solid rookies in Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender. However, both players are young and very raw; Tobias Harris and Jon Leuer should have no problem bullying them down low.

At center, the Suns start Alex Len, who has lost the appeal he had as a high potential prospect by insisting on being unproductive whenever he’s on the court. They also have the shell of Tyson Chandler, but he didn’t play last night against Portland and it is unlikely he plays tonight. Those centers should not instill much fear into Andre Drummond; if he comes out as focused as he did against Denver and the Clippers, he should have a field day no matter who the Suns throw at him.

As for the Pistons, they have two players who will be facing their former team: Marcus Morris and Jon Leuer.

Marcus had a solid game last year when he played at Phoenix. He scored 20 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and from three, the Pistons won, and he got to rip on Phoenix fans after the game. The Pistons hope for a repeat of that trifecta.

This will be Jon Leuer’s first year back in Phoenix since leaving to sign with the Pistons. The Suns gave Leuer a chance at a lot of minutes last year, and he played pretty well for them, averaging a career high 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. And with as well as he’s lived up to his four year, $41 million dollar contract with Detroit so far, you have to wonder if Phoenix should have held onto him instead of the likes of P.J. Tucker and Jared Dudley.

This game should not be too tough for the Pistons. The only issue could be Ish Smith and Beno Udrih trying to guard Eric Bledsoe. The Pistons could opt to put KCP on him, but that would leave the two point guards to guard Devin Booker, which would pose similar problems. As long as the Pistons can limit the Suns’ backcourt as much as they can, the Pistons should be able to dominate the frontcourt of the Suns and win the game.

Lineup Prediction

Pistons: Ish Smith, KCP, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

Suns: Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, Alex Len

Score Prediction

Pistons 108, Suns 89

I do not see this one being that close. The Pistons will want to play a lot better than they did against the Clippers, and Stan Van Gundy will have them ready to play. A win in Phoenix is crucial, as the Pistons will face the Spurs on Friday.

Community Question

With the recent play of Devin Booker (38 points against New Orleans, career-high 39 points against the Lakers), do you think the Pistons made the right choice in taking Stanley Johnson?