‘We just kept fighting’: Pistons storm back in second half, eclipse Suns in OT

Detroit News

Rod Beard
| The Detroit News

Detroit — The Pistons aren’t a team that gives up easily, even when they fall into a big deficit early in the game.

It happened again, and the Pistons took the game to overtime, before gaining control and dispatching the Phoenix Suns, 110-105, on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.

The Pistons (2-7) ended their three-game losing streak and did it impressively, toppling the Suns, who entered the game with the best record in the Western Conference.

Jerami Grant had his second straight double-double, with 31 points and 10 rebounds and Blake Griffin had one of his best all-around games of the season, with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 110, Suns 105, OT

“(Grant) was great. He’s been doing that. I’m very impressed with his patience and decision-making, Griffin said. “It seems like he can get to the hole whenever he wants, and he does a great job of finishing … his decision-making is unbelievable. I think he’s only going to get better as we go on and get to know each other better and better.”

In overtime, the Pistons took control early, scoring the first nine points, with a drive by Grant, a jumper and a 3-pointer by rookie Saddiq Bey (10 points) and a drive by Wright, for a 102-93 lead at the 3:02 mark.

The Suns (6-3) hung in with seven points in overtime from Devin Booker (23 points), including a coast-to-coast drive after Dario Saric’s 3-pointer that pulled the Suns within 104-100 with 1:15 left.

Grant answered with a baseline drive and after Booker made a 3-pointer, Grant shut the door with his own 3-pointer with 18.1 seconds left, for a 109-103 margin.

It was an unlikely win for the team with the worst record in the East, over the team with the best record in the West. For the struggling Pistons, it was a morale boost for the many close losses they’ve had in the early weeks of the season. 

“You’ve got to get some reward for your hard work. The guys are working their butts off in practice, before practice, after practice, night shooting – whatever it is,” coach Dwane Casey said. “So, they’ve got to get some reward. Again, slowly but surely, I think we’re coming together.”

In the first half, the Pistons had to overcome an outstanding performance from former teammate Langston Galloway, who had 17 points in the second quarter for the Suns. Galloway made his first six field goals and staked the Suns to a 23-point lead midway through the second quarter.

“We just kept fighting, chipping away at the lead and we were able to come closer and finally take the lead and sustain that lead,” Wright said. “It was a learning game for us, and moving forward, we should be better at it.”

The Pistons chipped away, getting the lead down to 18 at halftime, with baskets by Josh Jackson and Delon Wright (16 points, five rebounds and six assists) in the final minute of the half. Grant and Mason Plumlee (12 points and six rebounds) combined to score 18 of the Pistons’ final 20 points of the third quarter, trimming the lead to 76-72 entering the fourth quarter.

Through the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, the Pistons stayed close, and made a hard charge in the final five minutes, with a 3-pointer from Bey, cutting the lead to 86-84 at the 4:37 mark.

The Suns answered with a basket by Deandre Ayton (14 points and 12 rebounds) but the Pistons weren’t done. Griffin made a bank in the post, Grant made one of two free throws and Griffin scored on a hook, giving the Pistons their first lead since early in the first quarter.

Phoenix responded with a 3-pointer from Cam Johnson (10 points) and a driving dunk by Mikal Bridges for a 93-89 lead with 1:29 remaining.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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