Suns won only their second road game of the season last night, now head to Detroit to attempt to even their record on the season.
But don't count your chickens before they are hatched, Suns fans.
After an 0-8 start, the Pistons have won four of their last seven including their last two home games. Greg Monroe is having a great season with 17 points and almost 10 rebounds a game with a 20.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER), but no other Piston getting more than 20 minutes per game has a PER at league average (15.0).
Rodney Stuckey, once considered the future at point guard for the Pistons, has been really bad this year but he has been playing better than the Stuckey who went 0-7 against the Suns in game two. Marcin Gortat contributed 16 and 16 with 3 blocks in that game while Goran Dragic has 15 and 10 assists.
Despite Stuckey's troubles, the Pistons had the early 11-point lead and kept the game close against the Suns by hitting timely shots like a three-pointer by rookie Kyle Singler with seconds left. But the Suns got the win, and should be able to do so again tonight.
Luis Scola was very prophetic post-game:
"There's only one way to win games and that's playing focused for forty-eight minutes and play hard and hustle and do all the little things," [Scola] said after [the November 2 game] in which he led a second quarter effort that turned an 11-point deficit into an 8-point halftime lead.
Scola was reacting to the Suns second consecutive game allowing the opponent a double-digit lead before coming back to tie or take the lead. Unfortunately his starting teammates never got the message and, after allowing double-digit leads in all but one of the first 11 games, Gentry shook up the lineup.
The Suns have won three of their last four games with the new starting lineup; their only loss being on a missed layup with seconds left against Philadelphia. In last night's game, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola helped the Suns go on a 34-12 run from late in the third to late in the fourth to put down Cleveland for good.
The third quarter was the Suns' undoing in those games, but it appears that things have changed in some ways. From the inimitable Vince Kozar in the Suns Communications Dept after last night's win:
After allowing double-digit deficits in 9 of the first 11 games, the Suns new starting lineup has gotten down by 10+ points only twice in four games. Hey, it's a start right?
Suns with the ball: PHX O-rating 105.7 (12th of 30), DET D-rating 107.6 (27th of 30)
Pistons with the ball: DET O-rating 102.0 (21st of 30), PHX D-Rating 107.5 (25th of 30)
Detroit is bad at pretty much everything except that they can hit threes better than most (36.3%) while the Suns give up a league high percentage shooting. If Detroit goes off from distance, they can stay in the game.
The only other real threat on the court is C Greg Monroe, who plays below the rim much like Marcin Gortat. The Polish Hammer outplayed Monroe in the first game, putting up 16/16/3 vs. Monroe's 10/6/0. Let's see how that plays out on Wednesday night, but it could bode well for Gortat's potential resurgence.
"We'll take it," Gentry said about the win over Detroit on November 2. He would love to say that again on Wednesday night.
The Suns really should win this game. No one is tired after the Cavalier beatdown - the starters played enough to rest the bench, at least. And Micheal Beasley has come to life as well.
After seeing how they took care of business in Cleveland, look for the Suns to do the same against Detroit. Even if the Suns' starters fail, the Suns' bench is light years better than the Pistons bench.
But still, the Pistons are playing at home so the game should stay close.
Suns by 10.