The Suns were down the whole game, but fought back in the end to tie it up with just seconds left. However, they couldn't take the lead as the Pistons were able to outlast the Suns 110-108.
The Suns started out the first quarter by getting completely dominated inside on offense and defense, with Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, and Greg Monroe each getting to the rim for easy baskets and getting their hands on rebounds and bothering the Suns defensively to jump out to an early 12-3 lead before Hornacek had seen enough and called a time out to stop the bleeding.
Things improved a bit for the Suns once they made some adjustments, mainly by more plays with Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee rolling and slashing to the rim to help Phoenix cut the deficit to just two points after an 8-0 run, with a score of 17-15 about half way through the quarter as it was Detroit's turn to call the timeout.
Josh Smith quickly took over for the Pistons scoring six consecutive points. Then received some help with contributions by Kyle Singler, Greg Monroe, and Brandon Jennings who racked up 11 assists to once again balloon the lead as Phoenix missed shots and turned the ball over, leading to fast break points and easy buckets by the Pistons. Detroit was firmly in control at the end of the first, leading 35-21, marking the most points the Suns have given up in the first quarter all season.
The Second quarter started with the Suns' bench getting their hands on the ball a bit more defensively, which led to a couple of fast breaks. However, the Suns were only able to convert on one of them, a drive by Leandro Barbosa, who seemed to be the one spearheading the offense as Goran Dragic rested.
Alex Len also helped the Suns battle on the boards with Miles Plumlee out, and was able to tap the ball out a couple of times to keep the offensive possessions alive for Phoenix. Some good defense and hustle on offense helped the Suns cut the lead to single digits, 37-28, after about four minutes through the quarter.
The Pistons continued to fight however, and were able to go back and forth with the Suns, who still couldn't manage to gain an upper hand. As many of the starters returned for both teams, the Pistons were able to once again restore their domination on the court by seemingly getting to the basket almost at will.
However, the Suns wouldn't quit and kept battling behind the hustle of Dragic, Plumlee, and Marcus Morris to keep the game from getting out of control, if nothing else.
At the half the Detroit led the Suns 64-51.
The third quarter began with more of the same...fast breaks and paint scoring by the Pistons. However, the Suns were able to knock down a few threes by P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye, and Goran Dragic as they were able to once again keep the Suns close.
To their credit, the Suns kept fighting and did their best to get their hands on loose balls, and both Tucker and Dragic also kept the pressure on the Pistons by attacking them when they had the opportunity to push the tempo, but for the most part it was still the Suns who were on their heels for most of the quarter.
Still, the Suns were able to chip away at the lead little by little, and at the end of the third quarter the Pistons maintained the lead, 89-79.
The Suns second unit started the fourth quarter with some renewed hope after battling their way back, and you could see they were hustling and playing faster than before. They were suddenly the fast and furious Suns we are used to seeing...as they got stops on defense and ran on offense in the first two minutes going on a 7-0 run to close the gap to just three points...timeout Pistons
It wouldn't be long before the Pistons went right back to what worked for them, getting the ball inside. However, the Suns continued to push the ball and started striking from behind the arc, with Tucker and Frye both hitting big shots to eventually tie the game at 92-92 halfway through the quarter.
Just when it looked like the Suns may be able to pull off another unlikely victory from behind, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope answered back with a big three of his own and then a fast-break to once again recapture the lead by five.
The Pistons would continue to trade baskets with the Suns...every time the Suns would hit a big shot the Pistons would answer back. The Suns had some great open looks down the stretch and some fast breaks that they just couldn't convert, which ultimately sealed their fate.
The Suns fought back valiantly and once again and a big three by P.J. Tucker off an assist by Barbosa once again tied the game with 51 seconds left. However, Josh Smith hit a three with one second left on the shot clock on the next possession...dagger
Just when it looked as if all hope was lost, Gerald Green got fouled on a three point shot with just four seconds left in the game, down three points, and he was able to hit all three shots to tie it up once again.
Could the Suns really do it again???
After Detroit called a timeout, Josh Smith drove on an off-balance layup off the wrong foot and was able to hit the unlikely shot which proved to be the dagger that buried the Suns for good, as Gerald Green missed the fall away jumper at the end.
The Detroit Pistons went on to win it 110-108...They can't all be happy endings, I guess.
Josh Smith led all scorers with 25 points along with his 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Both of the Twin Towers, killed the Suns on the glass and in the paint. Andre Drummond scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to go with his 5 blocks, and Greg Monroe also destroyed the Suns with his 20 points and 12 rebounds. Brandon Jennings dished an astounding 18 assists to go with his 8 points and 8 rebounds.
For the Suns, Channing Frye was the leading scorer with 21 points. However, P.J. Tucker probably had the best all around game with 17 points and 11 rebounds.Gorand Dragic scored 15 points and 8 assists, Gerald Green had 15 points and 7 rebounds, and Marcus Morris contributed with 17 points and 6 rebounds.