Coming off a convincing win over the Sacramento Kings, the Detroit Pistons still have a pulse. As weak of a pulse it is, its still there. Detroit (31-39) will face the bottom-feeder Phoenix Suns (19-52) on Tuesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The last time these two teams faced off, things were very different. The Pistons were 14-6 and crushed the Suns by 24 points. Since then, Reggie Jackson tore ligaments in his ankle, the Pistons traded for Blake Griffin to infuse stardom, and the team has gone 17-33. Those 17 wins are only two less than what the Suns have managed all season, so it goes without saying that Phoenix is in a less-than-ideal situation as well.
To make their situation less than ideal for Tuesday’s matchup with the Pistons, the Suns are likely to be without their top two scoring options. Devin Booker and TJ Warren, who are averaging 44 points per game combined, are more than likely out for the contest. That bodes very well for the Pistons, who are only without Reggie Jackson and Jon Leuer. Phoenix will have a very difficult time scoring without Booker and Warren, and not because the Pistons defense is stout. The Suns simply do not have many other options for scoring points.
As is the case in many games, Detroit will have an advantage in the paint. Blake Griffin is playing well and coming off a 26-point party against the Kings. He added nine rebounds and seven assists as well. Andre Drummond did not have a terrific game against Sacramento, but should against the Suns. Tyson Chandler, while he used to be stout defender, is not what he once was. On a bright note for Phoenix, rookie Josh Jackson is taking some impressive steps in his development. He poured in 36 points against the Golden State Warriors last Saturday, though the end result was a loss.
Reggie Jackson has moved to playing 4-4 in practice, implying that his return is not too far away. The Pistons could really use him too. They have arguably one of the worst point guard situations in the NBA with Ish Smith, Jameer Nelson, and Dwight Byucks (who has been playing the best).
Bottom-line, this is a game that the Pistons absolutely have to have. Not only because their playoff hopes are riding on every game, but because the Suns are a bad team definitely not tanking. Nope. No tanking here. Detroit picked up a game on the Milwaukee Bucks with their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and now only sit six games back with 12 games left to play. Of those 12 games, only four have a winning record. They need to take adavantge of games like tonight.
(Feature image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)