The Suns bounced back with a much needed win agains the last-place Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
The Suns decided to make a last-minute lineup adjustment by rolling with a Deandre Ayton/Frank Kaminsky front court, shifting Cam Johnson back the bench.
After the game, Monty Williams cited the league going big these days with big fours again next to the centers, and that we might see it this way going forward (assuming Frank or Dario Saric there) against big lineups.
While they came away with the win, it was not a smooth experience and I think a lot of this win had more to do with Detroit being very bad rather than Phoenix playing well. They closed it out in the end, but there is still a lot to work on for this team.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair with each team trading a pair of small runs until Phoenix pulled ahead 27-to-24 to close the quarter.
They were led by the strong play of veteran guards E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway (who scored 5 points in less than 2 minutes upon checking in).
Cam Johnson also had a strong first half, posting 10 points on 7 shots.
Phoenix really started to pull ahead early in the 2nd, creating separation due to strong play from Chris Paul, Cam Johnson and Abdel Nader leading the charge on a 12-0 run.
The bigs each posted strong numbers in the first-half, as Ayton posted 8 points and 8 boards while Frank the Tank continued his strong play with 9 points and 3 boards.
Heading into the half the Suns led by a score of 57-to-44.
The beginning of the third quarter was a bit sloppy and choppy with the refs getting whistle-happy, calling the Suns for 4 fouls in less than 4 minutes of play and the Pistons chipped away to cut the lead to just 10.
Continued strong play from both E’Twaun Moore and Frank Kaminsky in the third quarter helped Phoenix extend its’ lead to 21 with 4 minutes to go in the 3rd.
The Pistons hit a rut offensively and struggled mightily to close the third quarter out, and Phoenix didn’t make them pay as much as they should’ve. They entered the 4th quarter leading 87-68.
The Suns looked way too comfortable early in the 4th, as the Pistons started on a 6-0 run to cut the lead down to 13 which led to a Monty Williams timeout to regroup.
Detroit kept it close for a while as the Suns couldn’t find any rhythm, but finally with 6:30 in the 4th Devin Booker and Chris Paul connected on back-to-back three pointers to give them a 17 point lead, leading to a Detroit timeout.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul took over in the 4th quarter and they finally executed after a mostly sloppy game. Phoenix is lucky that Detroit is not only a bad team, but a depleted one as well because this was not as impressive as the box score looked.
At the end of the day, this was a team they were supposed to beat and they did, which is something they haven’t done a lot of this season.
Star of the game
Chris Paul- 20 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal on 7/14 shooting.
Up next: Suns vs. Celtics– at 12 P.M. on NBATV & FSNAZ