Suns, Pistons to meet looking to cure recent woes

NBA Basketball
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The Phoenix Suns will try to reignite their perimeter game when they host the floundering Detroit Pistons on Friday.

Coming off victories against the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, the Suns went cold from long distance in a 102-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. They made just 9 of 34 3-point attempts.

“Shot quality was in the green for us. We just missed a ton of shots,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “The way we shot the ball, you wouldn’t guess that we made nine.”

The Suns’ offense was smoking against the usually stout Jazz defense, as they shot 56.3 percent from the field and made 12 of 20 3-point shots in a 131-111 victory. Phoenix’s backcourt duo, Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio, combined for 46 points and 21 assists.

They shot a combined 10-for-30 from the field against the Clippers and committed 11 turnovers. They did combine for 20 assists.

“That’s a really good team over there, (so) to lose by 10, especially the way we shot the ball and especially me personally, the way I shot the ball, to still be in the game and have a chance and keep fighting all the way until the end (is encouraging),” Booker told the Arizona Republic. “You see coach calling timeouts down to 10 seconds left, that’s the demeanor and approach of our team.”

The Suns played without forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who reportedly has a torn meniscus in his right knee.

“It’s tough when you see one of your guys go down,” center Aron Baynes said to the Republic. “Right now, he’s got to do the right thing for him because he needs to be able to come back whenever that is in the right shape to contribute and do what he’s done for us all season long.”

Detroit is mired in a seven-game losing streak. It hasn’t won since Feb. 5, the day before center Andre Drummond was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers to begin a rebuild. Point guard Reggie Jackson and forward Markieff Morris subsequently had their contracts bought out.

Playing with a much more inexperienced unit outside of point guard Derrick Rose, the Pistons don’t have enough talent or cohesion to match up against most opponents.

Their defense was picked apart by the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets in a 115-98 loss on Tuesday. The Nuggets shot 57.9 percent from the field.

“I like some of the spurts that we had, but against good teams, you can’t have the ‘Oh, my bads.’ We had way too many ‘My bads,'” coach Dwane Casey said. “We had people wide open, all over the place, and we missed some kick-outs. Against a team like this, they’re going to convert on those types of mistakes. In the first half, we had so many defensive breakdowns, guys were late rotating for whatever reason.”

Power forward/center Christian Wood is averaging 22.5 points over the last four games. However, Casey wants Wood to be more cognizant of what defenders are doing.

“He’s got three guys in front of him, you’ve got a shooter, wide open, and until we grasp that, we’re going to struggle,” Casey said. “Those are plays that we work on. There are kick-out plays that generate 3-point shooting. You miss it this time, you miss it that time, and now your shooters are not ready to shoot it.”

Detroit’s last victory came against the Suns. Drummond piled up 31 points and 19 rebounds in that 116-108 triumph.

–Field Level Media

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