Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/31

Game 1: Friday, December 31st
Pistons75Final
Suns92
Game 2: Saturday, January 22nd
Suns74Final
Pistons75

Pistons 75

(11-22, 3-14 away)

Suns 92

(14-17, 8-7 home)

Coverage: FSAZHD

9:00 PM ET, December 31, 2010

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
DET 14 18 26 1775
PHX 24 26 18 2492

Top Performers

Detroit: B. Gordon 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Phoenix: V. Carter 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast

Suns start fast, cruise past Pistons

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns turned to defense to snap a four-game losing streak.

Jared Dudley scored nine of his 19 points during a decisive run in the second quarter and the Suns held an opponent to a season-low scoring total in a 92-75 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

"I told the guys 'We are going to start judging our defense from this day forward,'" Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

The Suns defended with purpose after allowing more than 100 points in 10 of their last 11 games -- losing seven during that stretch. One day after Gentry ran the team through a 2 1/2-hour practice with defense the emphasis, Phoenix held Detroit to 41 percent shooting from the field (31 for 76) by forcing the Pistons into a hesistant half-court offense.

"We didn't care about offense because you figure if you can defend, you can score every time," Suns guard Goran Dragic said. "Everybody was engaged, everyone was pressuring. Rotation was good. Hopefully we're going to play like this in the future. "

On offense, Phoenix's reserves built a big lead in the second quarter that helped the Suns take control of the game. Dudley made three 3-pointers during a 22-4 run over seven minutes of the period, and backup point guard Dragic hit two 3s of his own to help the Suns to a 50-28 lead.

Vince Carter also scored 19 points and had eight rebounds as Phoenix won its second in the last six home games.

Ben Gordon scored 19 points to lead the Pistons. Tayshaun Prince added 12 and Charlie Villanueva had 10.

Suns center Marcin Gortat, who had some harsh words for the way his team played defense in Wednesday's 123-110 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, glowed with compliments Friday.

"It was a totally different team. Huge, huge step forward," Gortat said. "We did everything that we've been talking about. Now we've just got to stay on it. We can't be satisfied with this one win."

After Steve Nash made back-to-back 3s to stretch Phoenix's lead to 68-49 with 3:20 left in the third quarter, the Pistons closed the period with a 9-0 run to pull within 10.

Detroit couldn't get closer, though.

"We get into where they we attacking and kicking out and shooting 3s," Detroit coach John Kuester said. "We were just taking one pass and shot."

The Suns opened the final quarter on a 9-2 run, the final three by Carter off a kick-out pass from Gortat to make the score 77-60 with 9:38 left.

"We were not moving the ball a lot," Gordon said. "The sets we were running weren't helping us. We never really made adjustments."

Phoenix led 24-14 after one quarter, as Dudley made four free throws in the final 30 seconds and Mickael Pietrus scored nine points while playing the entire quarter.

The Pistons made only six of 19 shots in the opening quarter, but cut the Suns' lead to four, 28-24, on a three-pointer from Richard Hamilton.

Then the Suns, with most of their starters on the bench, got hot.

Carter, the one starter who remained on the floor for much of the second quarter, scored seven points during the decisive stretch.

Game notes


Both team's coaches made late changes to their respective starting lineups before tipoff, with Phoenix inserting Pietrus for Channing Frye at forward for defensive purposes and Detroit countering at forward with Tracy McGrady starting for Jason Maxiell. ... Pistons G Rodney Stuckey, the team's leading scorer at 16.3 points per game, missed his second straight game due to a stomach virus. ... Coach Alvin Gentry said before the game that the Suns' goal remains a playoff spot. Phoenix ended Friday night's game two places out of the top eight in the Western Conference. ... Phoenix F Gani Lawal, the team's second-round draft pick this year, made his NBA debut and played the last two minutes of the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DET
PHX
Points 75 92
FGM-FGA 31-76 (.408) 34-71 (.479)
3PM-3PA 5-20 (.250) 12-27 (.444)
FTM-FTA 8-18 (.444) 12-18 (.667)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-40 8-38
Assists 18 21
Turnovers 14 17
Steals 11 7
Blocks 4 1
Fast Break Points 8 11
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (2/0) 16 (2/0)
Largest Lead 2 23

Top Performers

Detroit
Phoenix
Ben Gordon Gordon
Points: 19
Reb: 6
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Vince Carter Carter
Points: 19
Reb: 8
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 0