Three weeks after Markieff Morris said that Piston's guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had "no heart", the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns face off again, this time at US Airways Center in Phoenix.

Tonight the Phoenix Suns face the Detroit Pistons (7:00 pm AZ time on FoxSports Arizona (TV)and ArizonaSports 98.7 (radio)) in Phoenix at US Airways Center.

At 3-19 on the year, the Pistons are struggling. But then so were Charlotte, Orlando and Miami when they beat the Suns in Phoenix. Charlotte had lost two straight before beating Phoenix 103-95 on an Orange Friday, then proceeded to lose their next 10 straight games. Orlando had lost four straight before beating Phoenix 93-90, then lost two more before pulling out wins against the Jazz and Kings. And most recently, the Miami Heat had lost four straight before beating the Suns 103-97 on Tuesday night, then lost on Wednesday by 20 to Denver.

The Suns are only 6-5 at home counting those ugly losses to under-.500 Charlotte, Orlando and Miami. It hasn't been a banner fall at US Airways Center.

The Pistons

But now the Pistons are absolutely the worst team to visit the Suns all season. At 3-19, riding a 13-game losing streak, the Pistons represent a chance for every NBA team to notch a win in their belts.

If you think it's bad in Phoenix with the Suns going the three-PG route, try Detroit where they are going the three-bigs route where no one is happy and they are playing disjointed and ineffective basketball. While the Suns re-signed Bledsoe, the Pistons had to watch Greg Monroe sign his qualifying offer and become a mercenary waiting for free agency. Now, Monroe is coming off the bench while the underperforming Josh Smith is back to his power forward position in the starting lineup.

The Suns

Isaiah Thomas returns for the Suns tonight after missing eight games where the Suns went 3-5 without him. Check out the practice report by Sean here, where Thomas and Hornacek discuss his return.

"I can help with energy," Thomas said. "That's what I do, that's my game. If I'm not playing with energy then I'm not that good of a basketball player. I think I can help, actually, I know I can help. We've played pretty well but we haven't been able to close games, and I think I can help in that aspect as well."

Suns-Pistons so far

You might remember the Suns eeked out a road win in Detroit on a missed three-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the buzzer. KCP had just made a couple of threes to keep Detroit in the game, but apparently showed he had "no heart" by missing the last one.

The "no heart" comment was made by Markieff Morris in the locker room after the game ended. "KCP got it and you know he doesn't have any heart so we knew he was going to miss it."

He and KCP had had words in the first half and apparently all wasn't hunky dory yet.

KCP's reponse to Morris' comment: "It is what it is."

We'll see how both teams react to this bulletin board material.

How they compare




Key Matchup

The Morris brothers against KCP, and anyone else that wants to weigh in on the battle, or whatever it is. Clearly, something is wrong between KCP and the Morrii or Markieff would not have completely dissed him like that after the game. Will that spill over into tonight's game? If KCP does have heart and/or his teammates have his back, then something will escalate. If nothing at all happens, then that says all you need to know about why the Pistons are 3-19.

Out on a limb

Markieff's dog named King has apparently been missing since Thanksgiving, about a week after that Detroit game . I'll go out on a limb and say that these two story lines involving Markieff are NOT related.


Hope that Keef finds his dog, folks!

Final Prediction

I have been a bad luck charm lately. Under my watch at the arena, the Suns have lost to Orlando and Miami in the past week.

Don't make it three bad losses in a row for me, Suns!

The Jam had a bit of a disappointing week, especially considering that the team had won four of its last five games coming in. The team struggled, finishing 1-2, while putting up its second lowest...

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P.J. Tucker loves the Pistons. Get in on the FanDuel tournament with promo code SBSUNS.

FanDuel Tourney #4 Tonight!

SB Nation FanDuel tournament number four is on tap for tonight. I've made totally sure that you will be in contention for the big dollars so join using this link, read the tasty tidbits below, pick your team, and leave your lineup in the comments. Then brag your ass off on Twitter using #FanDuelSBN. Extra points for extra obnoxiousness.

Phantasy Phix

Time for the Suns to get back on track. Phoenix has dropped three straight, but the week ahead looks promising. The Suns have five consecutive games against opponents with sub .500 records. First up though is Detroit, who took the purple and orange to the wire on November 19th.

Who loves the Pistons?

P.J. Tucker. Last time the Pistons and Suns tangled, Tucker shot 6 of 8 from the field and hit 2 of 4 from behind the arc for 16 points to go with 7 rebounds. He also did not commit a turnover in 30 minutes.

Who hates the Pistons?

Isaiah Thomas. Yikes. In 23 minutes of play, Thomas shot a frigid 1 of 9 from the field and totaled just 5 points against Detroit.

Who loves the Thunder?

Gerald Green. Oklahoma City and Phoenix met three times last season. In those three games, Green averaged better than 28 points a contest, shot 55% from the field, and hit a blistering 18 of 30 three pointers.

Who hates the Thunder?

Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe hit 43% of his shots last season against Oklahoma City, falling short of his 51% average for the season. He also had two of his top ten turnover totals against OKC, including a season high of 8 on November 3rd.

Who loves the Suns?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP hit a number of big shots to keep the Pistons close in the last matchup. In total he hit 6 of 13 shots, including 3 of 7 treys for 15 points in 28 minutes.

Russell Westbrook. Two of Westbrook's top three scoring performances last season came against the Suns. On March 6th, he had his best night of the season, scoring 36 to go with 9 assists and 9 boards. A month later he scored 33, with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.

Who hates the Suns?

Andre Drummond. Ripping down 13 boards, good. Shooting 2 of 10 from the field for 4 points in 25 minutes, not very good.

Reggie Jackson. For the 2013-14 season, Jackson shot 44% from the field. In three matchups against the Suns, Jackson shot a combined 35%, bottoming out with a 2 of 8, 4 point performance on March 6th.

Last Call

Got it? I've given you the winners and losers. The rest is on you. To recap: #FanDuelSBN, leave your lineup below, and of course the link to make it all happen. I'd say "good luck" but you don't need it.

"The Big O."

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Phoenix Suns Kippah


An important reminder to never let your faith get in the way of your allegiance for the Suns. Take care of both for about $25 after shipping.

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Suns T-Shirt

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Vince Carter Chinese Playing Card

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Oliver Miller Cartoon

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Phoenix Suns Autographed Painting

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3 Dozen Phoenix Suns Golf Balls


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From that infamous preseason night when the Spurs literally did not show up. Heads up, by the time this article posts there will only be a few hours left in the auction, so move quick. Redeemable for tickets, merchandise, or food at any US Airways (pardon me, Talking Stick Resort) Arena event through June 30th, 2015. Not convinced yet? You also get the letter that came with the card and a coupon for a free Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. Bidding is currently at less than 20 bucks.

Today the Suns held their first actual practice since embarking on their road trip last week. Here is what happened.

The Phoenix Suns took a day off after Monday's heart-wrenching home loss against the Miami Heat, which happened on the second night of a back-to-back, and after a very late overtime loss to Blake Griffin, and the rest of Los Angeles Clippers the night before.

The team wasn't their usual selves for that game.  Although they shot the ball effectively, and didn't seem to be suffering from the normal tell-tale signs of tired legs, namely front-rimming the ball, they were noticeably less energetic, scoring only seven fast break points (they average 26), especially on defense.

This not only accounted for Chris Bosh having an outstanding night (34 points), but also hampered their ability to get out in transition after those missed shots, which rarely came, and score in transition...which is undoubtedly the greatest strength of this team.

The good news is, the Suns had a day of rest, and will be ready to play again tomorrow night, at home, vs. the Detroit Pistons.

In addition, the Suns will, in all likelihood, receive a boost from the return of Isaiah Thomas, their prolific scorer, and third point guard, whom the team has sorely missed over the past eight games.

Here's what the coach, and Isaiah himself had to say after today's practice:

Suns Coach, Jeff Hornacek

On Isaiah:

"He should be ready (to play Friday), He went through the practice, and he didn't say it bothered him, so he should be ok."

On difference it makes not having Isaiah:

"Four games in five nights, and if we can have that other guy who can give Goran and Eric some rest, then maybe we won't have some turnovers late in the game when they're tired.  When you have to play guys a lot of minutes, it wears them down.  If we get Isaiah back then we can kind of limit some minutes."  He continued, "We want to be able to give them a break and still be able to push the ball, and (Isaiah's) got to be able to come back from this injury and be able to push the ball, he can't walk it up, so we'll see how he does."

On today's practice after not practicing for so long.

"It was one of those days where we had yesterday off, after playing four games in five nights, and it was a little rusty today with guys getting back in the groove.  But do you want to kill them when they have another game tomorrow night?  So we wanted to go short and quick and do a few things, but it's tough during the year, and guys have to learn from watching tape.  We try to get on the court as much as we can, but there's always that balance."

On turnovers

If we just make the simple passes...and it's everyone...but if you start playing around with the ball and going one on one, and if you don't get by the defender and he's doing a good job, that's when you have a tendency to turn it over.  So, maybe a little less one-on-one by all out guys.  Catch it, and if it's your shot, shoot it, if it's not, take one or two dribbles and kick it to someone else and let them do it.  He continued, If you look at the good teams, like San Antonio and Golden State, nobody really holds the ball.  If you have a tendency to want to pump fake, and then you want to make a move, by then the defense adjusts."

On other players off the ball not moving enough:

"You have to time it.  You can't be up there early, because then your man knows where you're at and they're going to deny it.  You have to be away from it, and then when the ball is swung to a particular player, you're in your set-up motion to pop open."  He continued, "We're sitting in the corner a little too much in some of those situations."

On what happened against Miami:

"Miami slowed the game down on us, and shot with the clock down to three or four most of the time.  Indiana did that too but they missed the shots and we were able to fast break.  Miami made those shots and we weren't able to run." He continued, "Miami did a good job of executing with the shot clock down, and they got back on defense, and we didn't have the energy with the fourth game in five nights, and we just didn't have the energy we needed to push the ball after a make."

Isaiah Thomas

On his ankle and status:

I feel a lot better, this is probably the best day.  This is the best it's felt since I got injured.  Today I did the most I've done in two weeks.  If it responds good, I'm going to play.  Once I can tolerate the pain, and I can move out there a little bit, I'm going to play."  He continued, "I've been trying to rest the past few felt the best it has since I injured it.  There are still some cuts, like when I'm going left that hurt, but if it responds well tomorrow I'm going to definitely be out there playing...I'm tired of sitting behind the bench and watching.  If I can move as well as I did today I'll be out there"

On what he can do to help the team:

"Just orchestrating the team as a point guard and getting the guys in the right spots...not saying Eric or Goran aren't doing a great job of that, but sometimes we have lulls in the game when we don't know what play we're in, or we don't know what we're doing.  So I think I can help in that manner, and just be another guy out there that can create for others, and myself."

On what he's seen since being injured:

"Just being a student of the game.  Not just sitting behind the bench, but cheering guys on and telling guys what you're seeing when you're out there.  When you're out there on the floor, sometimes you don't see what the coaches see, so I was just trying to maintain being a leader and helping out as much as I can when I wasn't out there with the guys."

On frustration of being injured:

"Last year I sat out 10 games due to injury, and it was the first time in my life that I had to sit out due to injury...this is the second time.  It's tough, but at the end of the day you can only focus on what you can control, and I was in there every day getting treatment, trying to get right.  When you're injured and sitting out, that's tough anyway, but on top of that it's knowing you want to play and help your team win."

On if he can help bring more energy:

"I can help with energy...that's what I do, that's my game.  If I'm not playing with energy then I'm not that good of a basketball player.  I think I can help, actually, I know I can help.  We've played pretty well but we haven't been able to close games, and I think I can help in that aspect as well."

Random Observations:

  • The Morris Twins were shooting around together after practice, and getting help from one of the coaches as a stand-in to practice their post-ups against.  You know those contested, turn-around jump-shots the Morrii take in games that make you cringe...until they go in?  Yeah those...and they not only practice them, they are very good at that shot and seemingly seek out the opportunity to use it as well.
  • Both Alex Len and Miles Plumlee were working on their 15-foot jump-shots from the elbow, and also their free-throws.  Alex Len was shooting the ball extremely well, which is no surprise after seeing how well he's shot the ball from mid-range, and even out to the three lately.  Miles wasn't hitting nearly as many as Alex, though he was definitely putting in the time after practice to continue getting better.
  • An impromptu dunk contest...kind of...broke out after practice featuring mostly Gerald Green and...wait for it...Tyler Ennis?  Yep, the young Canadian native was seen attempting a dunk...kind which he sort of dunked, but more like tipped in a bounce-pass high off the court.  Anthony Tolliver was vocal in his discounting of the attempt, saying that you have to have your whole hand over the rim to count.  While I didn't get that on video, I was able to capture Gerald Green after the fact, showing the young rookie how it's done.

So I'll leave you with Green doing what he does best, for your viewing pleasure:

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