PHOENIX — It was supposed to about Markieff and Marcus Morris being back on the court together, but the central characters were simply the supporting cast Friday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
It was the Phoenix Suns’ inability to generate offense that came back to haunt them in their 100-92 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
The starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight combined to score 44 points on 43 shots. They connected on only 40% of their attempts.
In the Suns’ three wins this season, Knight and Bledsoe are shooting 47.3% from the field and 42.9% from three, while in the three losses they’re 42.4% overall and 31.3% from deep.
It was Detroit’s point guard, Reggie Jackson, who sent the Suns home, scoring nine of his 23 points in the final two minutes.
Last season, even though the Suns got off to a 28-20 start, there was a litany of bad home losses to the Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks that came back to haunt them in the long run. They’ve already suffered two this season to the Pistons and Dallas Mavericks on opening night.
Marcus Morris scored 20 points on 7-14 shooting with six rebounds for the Pistons in the victory.
In the 22 minutes the Suns starting lineup of Tyson Chandler, Markieff Morris, PJ Tucker, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe played together they outscored the Pistons by 10 points.
Their time on the court was cut short when Morris picked up two fouls and a technical just over three minutes in the game — Phoenix was up 4-0 at the time. When the group re-entered in the first half the Suns trailed 31-25 and they got the Pistons lead down 42-40 at halftime.
The group has played 103 minutes together this season and has outscored opponents by 49 points. They have 118.5 offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) and 96.7 defensive rating, good for a +21.8 net rating.
When the Suns’ bench filters in, they continued to struggle. Mirza Teletovic was a -11 in 8:43, TJ Warren a -14 in 16:28 and Ronnie Price a -12 in 13:04.
The only three players on the roster to take double digit shots were Morris, Knight and Bledsoe. The next two highest were Warren with six and Price with six. The threesome above were also the only three to score in double digits.
Those are the three players the Suns need to rely on for scoring on a nightly basis, but there’s also a balance that needs to be met to help them out.
STAT OF THE GAME
Pistons center Andre Drummond was 2-13 from the free throw line and he missed six in the final 3:04 when the Suns went to hack-a-Drummond almost getting them back in the game.
HE SAID IT
Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek on a lack on concentration:
“We had some plays out there that we were supposed to run, the same play we’ve run for two years now. And some of our guys that have been here didn’t know it. The concentration level tonight probably wasn’t what it should have been. Our defensive assignments — we were switching things we weren’t supposed to switch, we forgot to switch times when we were supposed to switch. And that ends up getting you beat.”
The Pistons poor free throw shooting overshadowed a less than stellar defensive night from the Suns. Detroit shot 50% from the field and connected on eight threes.
Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight each scored over 20 points for the second time this season.
The Suns have started 3-3 for a second straight season.
Detroit has won consecutive games in Phoenix for the first time since 2005-08 when they won three in a row.
The Suns head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder for the first time this season on Sunday. Phoenix went 1-3 versus the Thunder last season with two of the games going into overtime.