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Pistons vs. Suns preview: Road trip continues in the Valley of the Sun

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The Suns are not leading the West like the last time the Pistons played them, but are still a solid team.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In a normal season, an early-season West Coast road trip would be a killer for the Pistons, trying to get off to a solid start to a hopeful playoff season. This year, a West Coast road trip is great for the Pistons, who are trying to lose as many games as possible.

The Pistons West Coast road trip continues in Phoenix, the first game of a back-to-back. The last time these two teams met, the Pistons won their second game of the season in overtime, thanks to * checks notes * Saddiq Bey? Hey, it’s been a long year.

At that time, the Suns were leading the Western Conference. They have fallen off a bit since, but are still a very solid team.

Game Vitals

Where: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, AZ
When: Friday, February 4, 2021 at 9:00 p.m.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Game Analysis

The Pistons are on a five-game road losing streak, and it probably won’t be ending in this game. The Pistons were able to steal a win during the last matchup in overtime, but beating a solid team like the Suns twice in one season for a team as bad as the Pistons is highly unlikely.

The Suns dealt with an early-season COVID scare that postponed three of their games, and they have struggled a bit since returning to play. The Suns are 4-5 since they resumed play on January 18.

The Suns are still solid defensively, ranking fifth in the league in defensive rating, so its been their middle of the road offense that has let them down since returning to play. They have the shooters and playmakers to be a really good team offensively, but they are only 15th in the league in Offensive Rating at 110.9.

Devin Booker hasn’t been quite as lethal of a scorer this season, averaging 23.1 points, his lowest total since his second season in the league. However, with the Suns being a better team overall, I don’t think he is complaining too much.

With this game being the first night of a back-to-back, it is uncertain whether Blake Griffin and/or Derrick Rose will play. With the Pistons facing the Lakers tomorrow night, they very well could rest them for the lesser matchup against the Suns. However, since Derrick Rose did not see the court at all during the Pistons’ loss to the Jazz on Tuesday, maybe he will play in both games.

The last time these two teams faced off, Jerami Grant dropped 31 points. This was a surprise, as he did it matched up against a very solid defender and fellow MIP candidate, Mikal Bridges. As usual, it is going to take a similar effort out of him for the Pistons to have a chance to win and sweep the season series against the Suns.

The Suns, outside of Cameron Payne, are healthy, and the Pistons have a lot of questions in terms of who will and won’t play. They will likely keep the game close as they seem to do every game, but I don’t see them beating a fully-healthy Suns team again.

Starting Lineups

Pistons: Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Suns: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, DeAndre Ayton

Question of the Game

Which young player will be out of the rotation this game?