Late-game heroics push Phoenix Suns past Detroit Pistons: By the Numbers

Nov 20, 2014, 3:51 AM | Updated: 6:26 am
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There wasn’t much of a crowd Wednesday in Auburn Hills, Michigan, but the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns put on quite a nail-biting performance.

The lead went back and forth all night, and although the Suns looked like they were starting to run away with the win at a couple of points, Detroit kept getting itself right back in the game.

Take the last two minutes of the contest, for example. A Goran Dragic bucket put Phoenix up by eight with 1:52 to go, but Detroit scored nine unanswered points (all three-pointers) over the next minute and a half.

With 34 seconds left and the Suns down by one, Eric Bledsoe took the inbound pass, split the defense and laid the ball in — ahead of the long arm of Greg Monroe, no less. The Pistons had a couple of opportunities to retake the lead, but Markieff Morris’ big block of a Brandon Jennings driving layup highlighted the Suns’ late defensive stand.

Bledsoe later added a free throw and the Suns emerged by a final of 88-86, their second win in a row. The Pistons nearly completed the comeback, but the loss dropped them to 3-9, worst in the Central division.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s back-and-forth game by the numbers:

1-9

Isaiah Thomas had a quiet night offensively for the third time in the past four games. The first-year Sun only made one three-pointer in nine overall field goal attempts, and he ended with five points, three rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.

2-10

Andre Drummond has been struggling from the field all season, shooting under 42 percent prior to Detroit’s meeting with the Suns, and Wednesday was no exception.
The third-year big man made just two of his 10 field goal attempts, although he did grab 13 rebounds. Drummond also missed both of his free throw attempts in the loss.

5

Josh Smith took only five shots for the home team, making two of them. The 11-year veteran played just 23 minutes Wednesday and finished with five points, four rebounds and three assists. It was the second game in a row that he attempted fewer than 10 shots — the only two times that has happened all season. Maybe Stan Van Gundy is trying out a new strategy for the former Atlanta Hawk.

10 (part I)

Phoenix’s Miles Plumlee finished with only two points, his second low-scoring game in a row. However, the third-year center grabbed 10 rebounds in 23 minutes against Detroit, as opposed to the one rebound he pulled down Monday at Boston.

10 (part II)

Morris hit a 20-foot set shot with about three minutes left to narrowly avoid scoring fewer than 10 points for what would have been the fourth time in his last six outings. The taller Morris brother only took eight shots, but he made five of them, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks on the night.

13

The unlucky “13” was actually the magic number of the night, as the two teams were tied 13 times and the lead changed on that many occasions as well. Despite those lead changes, the Suns actually were ahead for almost the whole fourth quarter until Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a three-pointer with 34 seconds left. Bledsoe’s last-minute layup proved to be the final lead change, and the one that mattered most.

16

Welcome back, P.J. Tucker! After a one-game suspension, the 6-foot-6 forward came off the bench and sparked Phoenix with a season-high 16 points. The Texas product also added seven rebounds and one assist, and he made 2-of-4 three-point attempts. Tucker helped the Suns to a 39-25 advantage in points off the bench Wednesday night.

46-42

The Pistons and their huge frontcourt got off to a dominating start in the points-in-the-paint category, but the Suns nearly closed that gap by the end of the night; it went 46-42 in Detroit’s favor.

49.3%-37.9%

Phoenix clearly shot the ball better than its opponent — 49.3 percent to 37.9 percent — but the Pistons took 14 more shots on the night, largely thanks to their 15-5 advantage in offensive rebounds.

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