Pistons Burn Suns in Final Seconds: 110-108


Jan 11, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons small forward Josh Smith (6) shoots over Phoenix Suns power forward Channing Frye (8) in the fourth quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit won 110-108. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

– Josh Smith (25 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists) buries back-to-back clutch baskets to edge Pistons over Suns at The Palace of Auburn Hills Saturday Night.

Detroit rattled off their second consecutive win Saturday night as they knocked off the Phoenix Suns at The Palace, snapping a 5-game home losing skid.

The Pistons seemed energized from the tip Saturday evening, as Point Guard Brandon Jennings led the charge for Detroit, dishing out 11 assists in the opening period, tying a franchise record held by none other than NBA Champion and Hall of Famer himself, Isiah Thomas.

Jennings helped Detroit get going early, taking a 12-3 lead three minutes into the game, including a nice looking dish off the backboard from Jennings to one of his favorite targets, Piston Center Andre Drummond (13 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals).

The Pistons ran out to a 35-19 lead late in the first, as they took a 14 point lead to the huddle after the opening period in Auburn Hills. Josh Smith added 15 first quarter points to the stat sheet to go along with Brandon’s 11 first quarter dimes. Although Jennings put on a passing clinic Saturday evening, he did struggle with his shot yet again, not a good sign for this Piston team.

Brandon finished the game shooting at a 35 percent clip from the floor (4/14). Brandon finished the night with a near triple-double, putting up 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 18 assists, 1 shy of his career high 19 he set last season as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Detroit did not let off the gas pedal in the second quarter either, sticking with the Suns the whole way. Detroit finished the half ahead 64-51, as Jennings finished the opening half with 16 assists, also tying a franchise record set by Isiah Thomas for assists in a half. The trouble for Detroit has not been their starts, its been how they have responded in the second half of games in which they held a double-digit lead in the early going, and Detroit indeed struggled in that department yet again.

After an early push by the Pistons to open the third quarter, pushing their lead up to as many as 18 (72-54), the Suns managed to outscore Detroit 28-25 in third, cutting the Piston lead nearly in half, 89-79.

But what’s a Piston game without them giving up their double-digit lead entirely? The Pistons managed to cough up their 18-point second half advantage late in the fourth quarter as Sun Shooting Guard P.J. Tucker nailed a corner three to tie up the ball game at 105 with 51 second remaining.

Detroit did however answer, as Josh Smith buried a wing three-pointer (only three-point attempt of the game) at the shot clock buzzer to give Detroit a 108-105 lead with 26 ticks to go. As the crowd, and Smith went crazy at the Palace, the Suns immediately answered as Gerald Green drew the foul on Josh Smith as he attempted a shot behind the long line. Green would knock down all three of his free throws with 4 second remaining.

In an eerily similar play drawn up by Head Coach Mo Cheeks, Josh Smith caught the ball on the wing where he airmailed a long jumper to win the game in New York earlier in the week. However, this time, “J-Smoove” attacked the hoop as he hit a lefty floater off the glass with one second remaining as that would prove to be the game-winner for the Pistons, finishing off the Phoenix Suns in regulation, 110-108.

Detroit has yet another 6-day break from game action, as they take the court next against the ailing Jazz who feature hometown guy Trey Burke who played at the University of Michigan in 2012-2013, leading the Wolverines to the National championship game.

It will be interesting to see if this long break halts the little bit of momentum the Pistons have sustained with these back-to-back streak ending victories.