Detroit Pistons’ hot 3-point shooting should match up well against Phoenix Suns’ porous defense

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at Phoenix Suns

Date: Dec. 31, 2010

Time: 9 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit Plus

Records

Pistons: 11-21

Suns: 13-17

Probable starters

Pistons:

Suns:

  • Steve Nash
  • Vince Carter
  • Grant Hill
  • Channing Frye
  • Robin Lopez

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +6.0

Over/under: 209.5

Score: Suns win, 106.25-103.25

Three things to watch

1. The Phoenix defense is worse than ever

Yahoo!’s Kelly Dwyer took on the Suns’ defense yesterday, and this was his take:

In the eyes of way too many people, Gentry is the guy who finally got the Suns playing defense last season, which couldn’t be further from the truth. All he did was slow the team down a little offensively, in literal terms. The Suns didn’t run as much, though they scored with great efficiency, and that limited the amount of points their opponents could put up. So on the surface, sure, the points allowed went down. But when you factored pace into the equation, the Suns were far, far worse under Gentry defensively than they were under Mike D’Antoni, who was roundly criticized for paying little attention to the defensive side of things when he coached the Suns from 2003-08.

The Pistons have shot better than 55 percent from three in two straight games, so if their shooters are on again, they should get their share of open looks against the Suns.

2. Will the Tracy McGrady rebirth continue?

McGrady will get another start as Stuckey’s stomach virus is reportedly still bothering him and kept him out of practice yesterday. The next step for McGrady is putting together two good games in a row. He should get another crack at significant minutes tonight, and if he performs well again, the Pistons will once again have a difficult decision for John Kuester to ponder.

3. Is that a favorable rebounding matchup for the Pistons?

Well, maybe not quite. The Pistons are last in the league in rebounding at 38.1 per game. But the team directly above them? Phoenix at 39.0 per game, and the Suns play at a faster pace with more possessions, so it’s conceivable the Pistons could actually not get destroyed on the boards for a change. They do, however, have to force the Suns to miss a few shots.

Pregame Reading