The Phoenix Suns lost to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at home, and it's no surprise that they blamed themselves for the loss rather than the Pistons' brilliance.

Same tune, different night.

Lack of focus, lack of effort on defense when it counts the most.

"We got to man up," he said. "We got to stop looking for excuses, stop looking at the standings. It's on every one of us, me included."

To start the same, the Suns gave Andre Drummond nearly a double-double in the first quarter alone (12 points, 8 rebounds).

"We gave up too many offensive rebounds to start the game again," coach Hornacek lamented after the loss. "That was one of the goals we had to go into the game was to eliminate the offensive rebounds, and they had five in the first, I don't know, two minutes."

"We got killed in the paint," P.J. Tucker said.

And of course, the defense was ineffective. Hornacek said pregame that slow-down teams like the Pistons are difficult for the Suns to defend because players work hard for a few seconds on D but then lose interest. So the longer the shot clock goes, the more chance the Suns D will allow a score.

The Suns gave up 30 points TO THE PISTONS in the fourth quarter - a team that came in averaging 92 per night rung up 105 on the Suns.

"It's just taking pride in guarding your guy, trying to get some stops," Hornacek said. "We gave them easy shots. We gamble a little too much. We've seen that over several games now - every time we've gone for a steal late, the guy just holds you off and then they throw it to someone else and they make a shot. They just have to play more solid."

On not having one or two go-to guys, but rather five or six guys who can all score at about the same proficiency in a one-on-one setting, I asked the coach about tough it is for the guys not to have a hierarchy.

"Yes, but I think they're all trying to do that," he said of trying to be 'the man'. "That's the case where you've got to let it come naturally. We're searching for a guy and trying to throw in different guys and sometimes they try too hard to be the guy."

Then Hornacek went down a road he hadn't gone down before: that his point guards are too focused on scoring when they drive to the hoop, that they need to spend more effort setting up teammates for kickouts.

"I thought we had a couple of those late that," he explained. "If we just take it in there with a purpose of ‘I'm not trying to score, I'm trying to give one of my teammates an easy shot.' I don't think we have enough of that on this team. These guys are all very good offensive players, and they think they can take their guys at all times, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. They should be good enough offensively where they can create something for a teammate, and it's on the teammates to cut and move to open spots and give them a passing lane. That's just playing."

That's a frustrated coach right there. It happens when you're on four-game losing streaks.

Now let's get to some video.

P.J. Tucker did not mince words. He had a good game - 15 points, 9 rebounds - and was quite clear on what needs to change to get back on the winning track.

"We didn't play defense," Tucker said. "We gotta just go out and play hard."

"One game at a time," he said. "We gotta stop looking at the board. Just one game at a time. Stop looking too far ahead. It's easy to do, but it's December. We got so far to go, so many games left. We just got to play game to game."

"We fought tooth and nail for those 48 wins, we fought every single night," Tucker.

He wouldn't say the same about this year.

Isaiah Thomas had his own explanation for what happened, which mirrored Tucker and Hornacek.

"We didn't play the same way the whole game," Thomas said. "We are breaking down on defense too much. We got to really lock in and buckle down on the defensive end. We got to battle."

"We are not bringing it every night. That's got to chance, we're digging ourselves a hole."

He had a poor shooting game in his first game back, one of the reasons the second unit didn't hold up their end of the deal to keeping the slim lead.

Now, turn up your sound to catch Markieff Morris who talks pretty low.

"Stopping the ball for getting into the paint," he said of the key to the loss. "It's definitely a team issue, not just one guy."

"We can't play down to our competition, and we can't do that."

There you have it, folks.

It's a team issue. It's an effort issue. It's about fighting and clawing to every win.

The Phoenix Suns lost their 4th straight game (3rd straight at home), this time to the previously 3-19 Detroit Pistons who were 1-8 on the road this season and losers of 13 straight games overall.

Here's your chance to rate the Suns players performances yourself, right here right now.

Go for it!

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The Phoenix Suns lost their 4th straight game (3rd straight at home), this time to the previously 3-19 Detroit Pistons who were 1-8 on the road this season and losers of 13 straight games overall.

Here's your chance to rate the Suns players performances yourself, right here right now.

Go for it!

Sports & Games Lists on Ranker

Phoenix-  “We got to man up.” Suns forward P.J. Tucker kept things simplified when asked about the Suns home woes after dropping their 6th home game, and 4th game overall in a row to the...

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The Phoenix Suns just don't know how to close out a game. This time, it was the Pistons, on a 13-game losing streak, who came into the valley to win. Unbelievable, Suns.

The Phoenix Suns spent most of the night walking in a cloud, just like against every other slow-it-down Eastern team who have visited the Suns lately. That type of game doesn't work in the Suns favor, and once again they found themselves down most of the time.

But then, as the Suns went down 4 points in the mid-fourth, Hornacek turned to his three point guards and told them to pressure and push the ball. At first, the Pistons scored on three straight possessions at the rim but then the Suns got some steals were able to tie the game with less than two minutes left.

But the Suns could not score and the Pistons' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a three to give the Pistons a 100-97 lead. Again, sound familiar? After the Suns scored, D.J. Augustin scored on a layup to bring the lead back to three.

Josh Smith made it interesting by missing a couple of free throws so the Suns could pull within 1 with 16 seconds left, but they should not have been in that position.

Meeks hit a couple of free throws and the Suns missed a three, but Tucker got a couple of free throws, Drummond missed one, and the Suns could not get a quick score to win.

Same tune, different night.

You give a bad team life, and they take and suck on it all night long.

This is a Pistons team that had lost THIRTEEN STRAIGHT GAMES. But they all came to play and looked a lot better than a 13-game losing streak would suggest. They had 21 second-chance points and 60 points in the paint. 60! The Suns just had no answer and couldn't muster enough fast breaks (29 points on FB) to make up the difference.

Of course. That's how the Suns roll.

Pistons win, 105-103.

Marcus Morris and Isaiah Thomas went a combined 6-for-20 (including 2-10 on threes) which did not help the cause. Alex Len played poorly, which also did not help.

First quarter

The Suns started the game like they wanted to work for the win, which is always a good sign. You think I jest, but some home games have started off so flat you'd think the team expected to win without working for it.

First it was Goran Dragic with the steal and FB layup between two Pistons (awful) defenders. Then Miles Plumlee went all Kobe on us and took seven of the Suns next 10 shots and didn't drop a single pass. He missed some bunnies but he didn't turn it over and he was active.

Soon, the Suns were up 13-9 before the Plumslaught was over. The Suns kept playing anyway, and took a 23-15 lead at one point.

But then the Suns did what they always do and they hit a lull where they stopped playing hard because the game was coming so easy, and the Pistons pulled to a tie by the end of the quarter on a Josh Smith steal and three-pointer as time was about to expire.

Suns 28, Pistons 28

Awful ending. Giving a really, really bad team some confidence is a bad, bad thing.

Andre Drummond was an offensive rebound machine, grabbing 5 and putting them all back for a near double-double in the first quarter alone (12 points, 8 rebounds).

Goran Dragic had 8 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal. Miles Plumlee had 8 points, but only one rebound. The Suns were outrebounded in the quarter 15-12.

Second quarter

Alex Len made some dumb plays, so he was quickly replaced by the resurgent Miles Plumlee who continued to do good things. Go figure.

The Suns fumbled, bumbled and missed-shot their way to a deficit against a Pistons team that had no idea what was going on, but they excitedly started playing with abandon and making some things go right. The Pistons grabbed a 5-point lead with a mostly backup unit, while Drummond and Smith were on the bench.

Hornacek went to the three PGs to get some offense and pace going against the Pistons second unit but that only served to keep the game within reach rather than spark the Suns. They just took a bunch of jumpers and got no offensive boards. Thomas and Marcus Morris started 2-10 (0-4 on threes) combined in the quarter before Marcus finally drained one.

The Suns went on an 11-2 run to take a 2-point lead with less than a minute left in the quarter, but then Detroit scored five quick points (free throw, offensive board/tip in, layup) to take a 3-point halftime lead.

55-52 Pistons

Eric Bledsoe leads the Suns with 10 points, while Markieff Morris has 7 rebounds and Goran Dragic has 3 assists. Since taking a 23-15 lead out of the gate the Suns were outscored 40-29 the rest of the half. By a 3-19 team on a 13-game losing streak.

Of course.

Feels like Orlando, Miami, Charlotte games in terms of losing to a bad Eastern Conference team at home. Suns can only hope this one turns out like Indiana, where they had a big second half surge to win. But that's only a 25% chance of happening, based on the season so far.

Third Quarter

The Suns came out playing hard in the third quarter and took the lead back within 5 minutes but the Pistons would not go away (likely because the Suns gave them confidence in the first half).

Suns played hard in that quarter, fighting for rebounds and running out on breaks. Markieff Morris scored 11 points and the Suns took a 76-71 lead with seconds left.

But then once again, they allowed the Pistons to go on a quarter-ending run. This time 4-0, to pull within one.

That's 5-0, 5-0 and 4-0 runs to end each quarter for the Pistons.

Killer. Suns by one, 76-75.

Fourth Quarter

The Suns opened the quarter with Len, Green, Thomas, Tucker and Keef but then switched to Marcus after Keef scored to open the quarter.

Len just really didn't look engaged in this game. That's going to happen to 21 year olds in their first season of big playing time. And, Miles was doing well (10 points, 5 rebounds to that point).

Isaiah Thomas just really didn't have that speed he needs to be effective and he didn't make up for it by passing the ball a ton. He went 1-7 to start the game before a couple of free throws helped him see the rim better and he made a three soon after.

Marcus Morris has become the ultimate hot/cold player who can make a big shot but missed so many of them he's frustrating.

Tucker did what Tucker does. Hustle. He had a couple of close scores.

But then Detroit made a big three and got a drive-and-slam from KCP (his second one of the night) where not one Sun tried to defend the rim.

The Suns were down 2 with 5;13 left ad it was time to bring the starters back.

But Hornacek brought Dragic and Bledsoe back in to play with Isaiah Thomas to make a three-headed PG monster to try to get out and run. Hornacek turned to all three PGs and yelled "push the ball!". He was tired of slow ball.

The Pistons kept trying to use the clock and hope they could work themselves into a good shot at the basket or an open three. It worked for Miami, but didn't work for Indiana.

On the first three Pistons possessions, they got that score (a jam by Smith, FTs by KCP, follow by Drummond) to keep the lead. The Suns on the other end got themselves to the line but missed 2 of 4 shots to fall further behind.

Then Tucker got a steal and Thomas ran out on a fast break to score and tie the game. Tucker got another steal on the next possession to get the Suns the ball back.

But the Suns couldn't close out the game and they lost to the PISTONS, who had lost 13 straight games.

Sheesh, this is a bad stretch.

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