Detroit Pistons-Suns: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Feb 5, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) against Phoenix Suns center Damian Jones (30). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) against Phoenix Suns center Damian Jones (30). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons got a great effort from Isaiah Stewart, but poor shooting doomed them in a 109-92 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

With its best three-point shooter, Wayne Ellington, not playing, the Detroit Pistons decided to show how much they need him by chucking up nothing but bricks from beyond the arc.

Detroit (5-17) went a pathetic 7-for-36 (19.4%) on three-pointers. Without generating points on threes, the Pistons simply did not have enough offense to keep up with the Suns. (12-9).

This was not some juggernaut the Pistons were playing. The betting showed most people putting bets down on the Pistons.

They had beaten Phoenix earlier in the season, and the Suns were without two starters (Dario Saric, Jae Crowder) due to injury. But replacement power forward Frank Kaminsky scored 15 points.

Against Utah, the Pistons rallied from a 27-point second half deficit and cut it to four in its last game, but the closest Detroit got was 11 points in the second half.

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the game:

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Isaiah Stewart: ‘Beef Stew’ (apparently now his nickname) took advantage of a depleted Suns frontcourt. He was active on both ends of the court. Although not the highest jumper, he still scored on a dunk off a lob pass from Svi Mykhailiuk. He also caused Chris Paul to turn the ball over when he had to guard him on a switch.

Mason Plumlee: A game in which the Olympic team finalist looked good. He outscored Suns center Deandre Ayton, 11 to 8, and was solid all around. He finished with a +3.

Pistons turnovers: Despite shooting 34-percent in the first quarter, the Pistons only trailed, 27-24, thanks to scoring 11 points on Suns turnovers.

Detroit has had its games where turnovers have been a problem. This time, despite point guard problems (Derrick Rose was out and Saben Lee had to leave the game with an injury), Detroit only had 13 turnovers to 21 for Phoenix.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Pistons starts: For the third game in a row, Detroit opened the game shooting bricks. Maybe not coincidentally, Wayne Ellington shot poorly against Utah and Golden State and did not play on Friday.

The Pistons had begun to really count on Ellington’s three-point shooting to spark its offense. It had been key in wins over the Lakers and 76ers. Detroit certainly looked like it needed a spark against the Suns.

Blake Griffin: Usually when a player decides to specialize in something, they should be good at it. After being a terror down low for most of his career, Griffin is suddenly mainly a three-point shooter.

One problem, Blake Griffin is not particularly accurate shooting three-pointers.

After a 0-for-5 performance taking threes against the Suns, Griffin is shooting 31.8% from three-point land. That shooting percentage is seventh-best on the team, however, Griffin leads the team in three-point shots taken.

So, why is the seventh-best three point shooter on the team taking the most three-point shots?

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: What to do with the “untradable” Blake Griffin. light

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Detroit three-point shooting: It was plain sad watching the Pistons have three-point shot after three-point shot clank off the rim.

Yes, Wayne Ellington was out, but, c’mon, Take out Josh Jackson going a reasonable 2-for-5, the rest of the team went 5-for-31. That is 16% on threes.

Among the bricklayers from beyond the arc were: supposed outside shooting ace  Svi Mykhailiuk (1-for-6), Blake Griffin (0-for-5), Saddiq Bey (2-for-8), Jerami Grant (2-for-6) and Delon Wright (0-for-2).

You would like to attribute such an awful showing to tired legs, but the Pistons had not played since Tuesday.  They just could not hit the broad side of a barn.

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This Western swing has been far from sunny for the Pistons. A game postponed due to a false positive and three games where they got clobbered most of the time.

Things actually get harder for the Pistons. They face the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. LeBron and Company will remember the beatdown Detroit laid on them last week.