Postgame Central: Suns at Pistons - Nov. 28, 2012

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Nov. 28, 2012

117

The Palace of Auburn Hills
Luis Scola
11 PTS, 6 REB
Charlie Villanueva
19 PTS, 6 REB
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Suns Suffer Tough Loss in Detroit

By: Brad G. Faye, Suns.com

DETROIT- A night after finding themselves on the winning end of a blowout in Cleveland, the Suns found themselves on the opposite end of that scenario on Wednesday night in Detroit, falling to the Pistons 117-77.

The lopsided score gave Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry a reason to empty his bench early for a second-straight night, albeit not for the type of reason he'd have liked.

"It was the first game where I can say that we didn't compete hard", Gentry said of the teams's third-worst defeat in franchise history. "We just have to find a way to gain consistency in what we're doing. We can't have one night where we play well and then come back a night later and not compete."

Forward Luis Scola led all Suns scorers in the contest with 11, and said following the loss that it's apparent the team has a lot to work on before its next outing.

"We got what we deserved," Scola said. "Basketball is a very fair game, and when you play this way, this happens. It isn't one isolated thing. This doesn't happen because you make a couple of mistakes, this happens because you make a lot of mistakes."

MO TOWN TIES

For several members of the Suns front office, Wednesday’s contest in Detroit was a homecoming of sorts.

First, for Head Coach Alvin Gentry, the game meant opposing the team he spent three seasons coaching.

“It’s a great franchise and has been a great franchise, so to come back and see some of the people that are still here is really nice to do,” Gentry said. “I’ve still got friends here and I still love this area.”

Gentry, however, isn’t the only Sun with coaching experience in the Motor City. Before joining Phoenix in 2008, Igor Kokoskov had spent his previous five seasons as an assistant in Detroit. During that time, he reached the conference finals in each of those five years and also helped the team to the 2004 NBA Championship.

“It always feels like home,” Kokoskov told Suns.com of returning to Detroit. “I had a great five years here with lots of special memories.”

Kokoskov called the experience of helping the Pistons to 2004 title “unforgettable” in large part because of the timing when the run took place.

“It was a great experience especially with me being a young coach,” the native of Serbia said. “I was coming into a completely different kind of culture at the time, and for us to do something really, really special like that was just unbelievable.”

Asked by Suns.com about the reception each of the two coaches receive whenever they return, Gentry laughed.

“He was here a lot longer than I was and was here as part of that championship team so obviously he’s well known,” Gentry said. “He’s a rockstar when he walks in here.”

Meanwhile, for both Suns General Manager Lance Blanks and player development coordinator Lindsey Hunter, the affair meant a return to the city they each represented as players. Blanks suited up for the Pistons during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons while Hunter enjoyed a total of 12 seasons with Detroit after the organization drafted him in 1993. Like Kokoskov, Hunter was also a member of the 2004 Pistons team that defeated the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA Championship.

Last but not least, the trip to Michigan meant a much more literal homecoming for Dan Majerle, who was born in nearby Traverse City. The former Suns player and current Suns assistant coach played his high school basketball at Traverse City High School, and stayed nearby to continue his college career at Central Michigan University.

“I grew up about five hours north of here, but I usually try to see people when I can,” Majerle said. “Obviously this time it’s tough with us being on the second night of a back-to-back, but my parents will usually make the trip, and tonight I’ll get to see some people from Central Michigan who are making the drive. It’s always good coming back to your home state though and being able to see people you haven’t seen in a while.”

Ironically, despite the many ties that the Suns front office has to Detroit, not a single member of the team’s 13-man roster has ever suited up for the Pistons.