Detroit Pistons: Day After Suns win observations

Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons spotted the Phoenix Suns a 23-point lead, only to rally for a 110-105 victory in overtime. And the Suns were the ones who had to come from behind to put it into overtime. Really. Here are the Day After observations.

The Detroit Pistons getting their head handed to them by the Phoenix Suns would have come as no surprise. The Suns are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and Detroit had looked outmatched in two games against Milwaukee, and were 1-7 on the season.

So, when the Suns held a 54-31 lead with six minutes left in the second quarter, fans could have been tempted to turn the channel and go watch MacGyver.

However, the one trait this year’s Pistons team has, is that they do not get blown out. In nine games this season, Detroit has held the lead in the fourth quarter in seven on them.

Here is the Excellent, the Good, the Not So Good and the Really Not So Good from a surprising victory.

The Excellent

Jerami Grant: Could the 6-foot-9 forward be underpaid at $20 million a year? He just tore up a Phoenix team that has some good defenders. Grant scored 31 points with a very efficient 10-for-15 from the field.

Credit the Pistons coaching staff for simply opening the floor and letting Grant drive to the basket. His size and speed were too much for the Suns.

He also was cool in the clutch. He hit a dagger three-pointer in overtime to seal the win.

Pistons zone defense: Detroit was effective when they went to a zone defense in the preseason, but coach Dwane Casey had pretty much ignored it until Friday night.

With the team’s length and size, plus the lack of foot speed on several of its key members, the zone is a perfect defense for the Pistons to deploy.

Phoenix made 12 of its first 17 three-point shots but then only 4 of its next 33. Their poor shooting against the zone allowed the Pistons to catch up.

The Good

Blake Griffin: He wasn’t BLAKE GRIFFIN, but he was a pretty good player on Friday. Had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Importantly, he was not flinging it from three-point land constantly, trying to be the second coming of Luke Kennard. He got in the low post to do some damage, like in the old days.

When Griffin is engaged and on his game, he adds a lot, as the other players still look to him for leadership. One amazing stat was that Griffin played over 40 minutes, and he did look that fatigued at the end.

People need to remember that the guy missed almost a year of basketball, and with the load management and games missed due to the NBA concussion protocol, he has only played in six of the nine games. Let us see how he looks as the season goes forward.

Langston Galloway: The Suns going out to that big lead was not fueled by Devin Booker or Chris Paul but the ex-Piston Galloway. In the second quarter, he was unstoppable, going 5-for-5 on three pointers and scoring 17 points just in that period.

In the second half, Galloway cooled off and only saw a few minutes of playing time, which helped the Pistons rally.

Delon Wright: With Killian Hayes out for who knows how long and Derrick Rose off his game (going 1 for 7), the Pistons needed Wright to step up at point guard, which he did. The 6-foot-5 veteran had 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and the team was a +18 when he was on the floor (Mason Plumlee led Detroit with a +20).

Wright only had one turnover, huge in a game like this, where the Pistons could not afford to let the Suns get easy baskets.

Delon Wright unknown but important. light. Related Story

The Not So Good

Slow starts from the bench: It was a pattern in the Milwaukee games and it was a problem again versus Phoenix. The starters do OK, at least, but when the bench gets on the floor, the roof caves in.

Detroit went from a 16-13 lead to then being outscored by a 41-15 margin (Yikes!) in the next 12 minutes. Yes, some starters were in during that period, but the substitutes simply got rolled over during that time.

Isaiah Stewart: In eight and a half minutes, the rookie center had no points and four rebounds and a minus-15. He has had some nice moments in previous games, but he did not look good in this one.

The guy always hustles, so do not want to get too down on him. But going against a Deandre Ayton was a tall task.

Pistons shooting: For the first three quarters, Detroit shot just 36% from the field. It was incredible they were still in the game, despite all the bricks they were throwing.

The finished with a still pitiful 41% shooting from the floor and equally wretched 34% on three-point shots.

Detroit won the game by cutting down on turnovers (only 13 to Phoenix’s 20) and getting to the foul line, having 29 foul shots to just 13 for the Suns.

The Really Not So Good

Cade Cunningham watch: The victory leaves the Pistons just two games behind the Charlotte Hornets for a playoff spot. Making the playoffs means no chance at getting the No.1 overall draft pick.

Killian Hayes watch: The French rookie was at the game, on the bench, in street clothes. No official determination on his status has been announced. It was just a reminder of how much he is missing not being out there. Getting to face Chris Paul would certainly been an experience for him.

Detroit Pistons: Three takeaways from win over Suns. dark. Next

Let us be honest, when it was 54-31, did you really think the Pistons would win? Still, it was a great game and good win for the team. Even rebuilding teams need some wins to bolster morale.

Another Western Conference toughie, the Utah Jazz, comes to Little Caesars Arena on Sunday afternoon in a nationally televised game (NBA TV). Let us see how that one goes.