Opponent Scouting: Phoenix Suns. 8-9.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the Pistons will continue their homestand with the Pheonix Suns coming to town in order to play their second (and last) game against the Suns of the year. The game is at 7:30pm EST.
Past meeting: Pistons 100 - Suns 92.(thats a link to my recap of the game in case you are wondering.)
The Them: Not a ton has changed for the Suns since the last meeting with the Pistons. They still love to get out and run every chance they get (fastest pace in the NBA) and also rely primarily on their dual PGs to carry most of the offense. Between Knight and Bledsoe the team gets 44 points, and 12 assists. The 3rd wheel to the backcourt duo is still Lesser (also known as 'Markieff') Morris, who is still struggling with his shot. Also it should be noted, that Lesser Morris is starting to see his playing time go down a bit as the combination of his struggles shooting and lazy ass defending make the surprising (I think it is a surprise at least) good play of Jon Leuer more attractive. Tyson Chandler and Alex Lin spend most of their time locking down the center position, while the Suns also enjoy going small for bits of games with one of their PFs taking over center. (Although FWIW when Leuer is playing center, that is hardly small ball.) The biggest surprise (to me at least) is that the Suns are starting to look like they may have a really solid rotation between the PGs and C. PJ Tucker is holding down the starting spot at SF currently and is a absolute bull of a defender (in a good way) and while he is not very useful on offense, he occasionally hits some open shots. TJ Warren is not as good a defender as Tucker, but he can really score. (12.7ppg in just 23 minutes on efficient shooting) Mirza Teletovic has found his stroke from outside (after a poor start) and is all the way up to 44% on a little over 4 3s per game, which is an excellent number. Jon Leuer was already mentioned, as well as Markieff. (even though Markieff has struggled this year a bit, he is still at least a pretty good player I would say) So even though the Suns mostly rely on their dynamic duo backcourt for offense, beyond those two they have a host of other guys who all appear to be really solid players. As such the Suns continue to be a team that is just really hard to beat. They probably do not have enough talent to be serious contenders, but this is a good team that can play with anyone. They score quite a few points and also give up quite a few points. (OffRtg: 102.4 DefRtg: 103.5) In the grand scheme of things, the Suns are in similar to the Pistons, two really good players, and a bunch of other guys who may or may not actually be that good. The difference is that neither Bledsoe or Knight is as good as Drummond, but the "other guys" for the Suns are trending more towards being actually pretty good. (which the Pistons cannot really say.) They are a pice (or maybe 2) away from true contention, but they are a team with some talent who is trying to win.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Everybody: Andre had a solid game rebounding but not scoring the last time these teams played, he also had some foul trouble. But Tyson Chandler has looked a bit off so far this year, and Len/Leuer should not have much chance in handling Andre. Although even in his "a little bit off" state, Chandler is a really heady defender who will certainly cause several PnRs to go poorly. Regardless, it is pretty clear at this point, the Pistons need Andre to destroy in order to win. The Suns have a bunch of hard nosed dudes who will battle with him inside, and he should be able to beat them if he battles back, but he will need to battle.
The Guards vs. The Guards: Both teams feature a pair of starting guards who are young and good. Last time these teams played the Pistons won this battle by forcing both Suns guards to be not have big games, while scoring well themselves. KCP figures to be able to hold up his end of the bargain once again, looking back, Knight has faired better against KCP than really any other guard who has been matched up with him (outside of Jamal freaking Crawford) but KCP is big enough to shoot over Knight, and Knight is just not that great a defender anyways. I am a bit worried about Reggie vs. Bledsoe though. Reggie is gimpy, and Bledsoe is an explosive athlete. As such, Reggie might have a real issue staying in front of Bledsoe on defense, and even though he has generally been good on offense, Jackson has certainly laid a few duds lately. If Jackson is struggling to stop Bledsoe, and also has an off night offensively this game could really swing in favor of the Suns.
The Morrii: Pretty self explanatory, the Morris twins will play each other, and will likely end up guarding each other at least a couple possessions. In the first game they played each other, Marcus got the better of Markieff, and was the origination of me deeming him worthy of being known as 'Greater Morris'. However Markieff is not playing as much these days, and neither of them are shooting the ball very well, so this might not be as interesting as it appeared it would be when they first met. But regardless, emotions will run high again.
Tempers: The Suns are not very well known as very disciplined team, and last time these teams played there was a tech called on Markieff. The Pistons have a couple guys, (mainly Marcus) who will probably be willing to fire back if it comes to it, but tempers are certainly possible to have an effect on this game in some way. Pistons D vs. Iso-Ball: The Suns like to play a lot of isolation in the half court. The Pistons generally thrive on great discipline and communication on the defensive end, but have several guys who are not great one on one defenders. Even though they did fine last game, there is a chance this is a not so good matchup for the Pistons in that regard.
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre is beating the Suns over the head all night.
Marcus Morris remains Greater Morris.
Reggie can keep in front of Bledsoe.
Knight is stuffed cold by KCP.
Techs on the Suns.
Run for the hills if:
Andre is not owning the paint.
Marcus Morris becomes Lesser Morris.
Reggie is getting blown by constantly.
Techs on the Pistons.
The Suns rotation of wing guys proves to be much better than the Pistons when the bench mobs are in.
Oppourtunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has a 20/20 game.
Bledsoe scores 30 points.
Knight scores less than 15 points.
Marcus Morris is Greater Morris.
Pistons keep up the good vibes by winning a close but not too close game behind a big night from Andre and Marcus.
What do you think? Who is the Greater Morris? Wish we still had Knight? Let me know! We all get smarter!
P.S. I fixed my site, call me "Haxor, destroyer of php code." from now on please.
EDIT: The Suns are now 8-10 having lost to the Nets tonight. As such they will be on the second night of a back to back. I would make a joke about losing to the Nets but, yeah.