Pistons try to keep firing on all cylinders vs. Suns
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The Detroit Pistons appear to be an improved team under first-year coach Dwane Casey. They've still got a long way to go to get area fans excited about them.
Detroit has made only one playoff appearance since 2009 and needs to establish a home-court advantage in its second season at downtown Little Caesars Arena. The Pistons began a stretch of six consecutive home games in promising fashion Friday, defeating Houston 116-111 in overtime.
They'll try to carry that momentum into their Sunday afternoon game against the Phoenix Suns.
"I know these fans here are just waiting to have a rocking arena and we have to give them something to get excited about," Casey said. "They're not just going to come pay their hard-earned money to hang out and watch us not give 100 percent. We're getting to where our fans are going to respect us, respect what we put on the floor, but we have to go out there and earn it."
The victory over the Rockets was hard-earned. They nearly won it in the closing seconds on a Blake Griffin 3-pointer, only to have Houston score with one-tenth of a second remaining. Reggie Jackson then erupted for 10 points in overtime as the Pistons improved to 9-7, 5-3 on their home floor.
"Our defense won the game for us," Casey said. "There was a 12-minute stretch where we had five points, so it definitely wasn't our offense but we made some key buckets at the right time."
The frontcourt duo of Griffin and Andre Drummond continued to post big numbers. Griffin had 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists against Houston while Drummond supplied 23 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.
Griffin is averaging a career-high 25.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Drummond is averaging a career-high 19.5 points and a league-best 16.1 rebounds.
Drummond's output on Friday was his sixth 20-20 game of the season. Those outings usually come when he stays out of early foul trouble.
"I think for me it's just staying disciplined and picking my spots and when I try to chase down blocks or if I go for a steal, just picking my spots at the right time," he said. "Staying disciplined is what it really boils down to. I've been in foul trouble a lot this season, so I'm still just trying to figure everything out."
The Suns (4-14) snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday by edging Milwaukee 116-114. Devin Booker led the way with 29 points and Jamal Crawford made a game-winning jumper in the final second.
"He's been doing this for a very long time," Booker told The Athletic about Crawford. "I had the utmost confidence in him. I knew it was going in right when he had the ball."
Phoenix showed some grit and determination, two things that have been lacking this season.
"We threw the first punch, and we even took a punch," rookie center Deandre Ayton told The Athletic. "This is the first time we actually answered back from a punch from another team. Positivity was there. Togetherness was there. We got the job done."
The Suns' stop in Detroit completes a four-game road trip.
Updated November 24, 2018