Suns start seven-game homestand vs. Pistons

NBA

A long homestand could be just what the Phoenix Suns need to move up the Western Conference standings.

The Suns begin a seven-game homestand on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons. They have won three of their last four games but fell at New Orleans, 123-101, on Wednesday.

They won their last home game against Golden State and recorded two victories in Dallas before falling apart in the second half against the Pelicans.

“Good trip,” said Suns guard Devin Booker, who is averaging a team-high 23.1 points per game. “Whenever you can come out with a winning record when you hit the road is good. Obviously, we see there is room for improvement, and I think we’ll make those adjustments.”

Booker scored a team-best 25 points on Wednesday, but the Pelicans were outscored 75-55 after the break.

“We just didn’t have a lot of juice for whatever reason in the third and gave up a 40-point quarter,” coach Monty Williams said. “Can’t have that, especially on the road or at home. It doesn’t matter, 40-point quarters are a disaster.”

Williams’ team will try to avenge that loss during its return trip to New Orleans on Feb. 19. Prior to that, the Suns will host a parade of Eastern Conference teams. Following their matchup with the Pistons, the Pelicans will entertain Boston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando and Brooklyn.

Their game on Friday will finish off the two-game season series with Detroit. The Pistons defeated New Orleans in Detroit, 110-105, in overtime on Jan. 8.

The Pistons limited Phoenix to 37 second-half points that day before outscoring the visitors 17-12 during the extra session.

Jerami Grant led the way for Detroit, tying his career high with 31 points. The Suns committed 21 turnovers, which the Pistons turned into 23 points.

Detroit is in the midst of a tumultuous road trip. It lost to Golden State 118-91 on Saturday and Utah 117-105 on Tuesday. In between, the Pistons had their game in Denver postponed minutes before tipoff due to an inconclusive coronavirus test.

In Utah, the Pistons trailed by as much as 28 but sliced the deficit to four points in the late going.

“Compete — that’s all we have to hang our hat on. Compete, fight, scratch,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Compete together, stay together, don’t give in to adversity. Don’t let go of the rope. I just felt they were, and I let the guys know. I thought they responded. Put ourselves in position (to win).”

With the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers looming on the schedule Saturday, the Pistons could view their game in Phoenix as their chance to salvage the trip.

“I hope we can play like that for a full game, for four quarters,” center Mason Plumlee said. “It’s nothing spectacular. I just think it’s the fundamentals of getting back on defense, competing, playing for the next guy. It’s not super complicated.”

Grant was once again Detroit’s leading scorer against the Jazz, posting 27 points. He’s averaging 23.7 points per game.

Plumlee has notched four double-doubles in the last five games after fouling out four consecutive times. He matched his season high with 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Utah.

–Field Level Media

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