The (4-15) Phoenix Suns, coming off a victory over the (14-5) Milwaukee Bucks two nights earlier, gave the Detroit Pistons a solid effort Sunday evening. In the end, the Pistons took care of business, as their energy and shooting were too much for the Suns. Blake Griffin was also too much for the Suns, especially in the fourth quarter. Pretty much everything Blake shot went in during the final frame, scoring 12 of his 16 points. Closing time. Pistons win 118-107, and are now 10-7 on the season.
Defense in the first half was very optional for both teams. However, the Suns did key in on Blake Griffin heavily, but despite some turnover issues, Blake made the right plays for his teammates.
For Phoenix, if Devin Booker had the ball good things were happening. The 22-year-old was on fire and no one Detroit threw at him could keep him in front. Booker played in control and was excellent at probing and getting the exact look he wanted.
Both teams tightened the defense up in the third quarter, although Booker was still doing what he wanted. The Pistons were down a point heading into the fourth quarter, and that’s when Stanley Johnson impacted the game on both sides of the court, making life a bit more difficult for Booker and company. It looked as if Booker ran out of gas and Stanley and the Piston defense had a hand in that.
Booker scored 37 on 23 shots, but only hit 3-of-9 from downtown. Rookie DeAndre Ayton had a rather quiet 25 points on just 13 shots. He’s a bit mechanical at times, but did do a superb job finishing. The Suns third most lethal scoring option, T.J. Warren, was ejected in the second quarter.
Let’s get to some individual stuff:
Shot it 10 times in the first half with some ill-advised chucks. The second half saw Reggie open quite a bit as well, especially when Blake was getting double-teamed. Reggie going TO THE BASKET is what needs to happen more often. Reggie’s numbers don’t look pretty at all (6-of-20 from the floor), though he was a good at times on defense and made some key passes.
Shot it five times in the first half and missed a couple wide open looks that he’ll make 70 percent of the time. Overall a very Bullock-like game, finishing 5-of-10 from the field and never taking a wild or rushed shot.
Glenn Robinson III
Attack mode Glenn can make a difference for this team, as was evident by his productive third quarter where he knocked in a jumper off the dribble and also set up Andre for an easy shot in the paint. Glenn has the handles and quickness to get where he wants if he picks his spots wisely.
Six first-half assists from Blake, as it as obvious that the Suns wanted someone else to beat them and brought double teams early and often. Fourth quarter Blake was just having fun and it seemed like he had a dozen before you knew it. Blake did get a bit 3-ball happy when the game was in hand, but the guy is playing winning basketball.
Free throw troubles for the big man — Drummond hit just 1 of 8 attempts — but other than that Andre was active and played within himself. Andre also bullied Ayton at times on the block while making strong moves, especially during the first half.
This wasn’t Ish’s best game, although he was a plus-minus 11 in just 16 minutes. I thought Ish got a bit too jump shot happy at certain times, but the shot was almost always available. He’s got to keep shooting it if the defense gives him that. Ish can hit it.
The quick gunner did his part on offense in the first half with 12 points on 3-of-3 shooting. He finished with 15 points on just six shots. Langston also did other positive stuff:
Assertive and smart with his shot selection in the first half — took a shot in the eye from Josh Jackson but stayed in the game and the very next offensive possession made a strong move in the lane, drew the foul, and made both free throws. In 24 minutes Stanley scored 14 on nine shots, and played some timely defense, too. Stanley shot 2-of-3 from downtown:
Pistons now 5-1 when Stanley Johnson makes 2+ threes— Lazarus Jackson (@lazchance) November 25, 2018
Bruce wasn’t involved on the offensive end — though, in eight first half minutes was a plus-minus 7. As usual, he gave the team very active minutes.
Zaza was able to push around Richaun Holmes for the most part and impacted a couple shots in the paint, plus did a solid job on the glass in six first half minutes. Zaza also gave the team good minutes in the second — finishing with 10 rebounds in 12 minutes.
Up next for Detroit is a home tilt against the very young Knicks on Tuesday.