Suns News

Suns-Pistons Game Preview: March 16

Dudley and Co. have won 9 of their last 12.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Nicolino DiBenedetto
Posted: March 16, 2012

The Phoenix Suns are trying to get back to .500 for the first time in more than two months.

Returning home and having Steve Nash and Grant Hill back in uniform should improve those chances greatly.

After being rested for one game, Nash and Hill are scheduled to return to the lineup and try to keep the Suns surging as they attempt to sweep a back-to-back-to-back stretch of games Friday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.

Phoenix (21-22) hasn't held a .500 record since it was 4-4 on Jan. 8, but a 9-3 surge has it on the brink of returning to the break-even point.

The Suns posted a 91-87 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, one night after they shot 56.4 percent en route to a 120-111 home win over Utah.

Now, looking to win for a third straight night, barring any unforeseen circumstances coach Alvin Gentry will have Nash and Hill back.

Gentry opted to rest the veteran duo against the Clippers, and reserve Shannon Brown made the most of his opportunity with a season-high 21 points. Sebastian Telfair, filling in for Nash at the point, had seven points and eight assists.

"I think it was satisfying for the guys in the locker room, because I think they wanted to prove that we are a good team all around and that we can win games without Steve or Grant," Gentry said. "We didn't have the guy who is the engine to our whole team."

The Suns may also benefit from a return to US Airways Center, where they've won eight of their last 10 games while averaging 102.9 points.

Nash leads the NBA with 11.1 assists per game and is averaging 13.9 points, while Hill is averaging 13.6 points over his last eight at home.

Hill was held to eight points while shooting 4 of 14 in a 75-74 loss at Detroit (16-27) on Jan, 22, 2011, the last time these teams met. Phoenix, though, has won three in a row over the Pistons at home including a 92-75 victory Dec. 31, 2010.

The Pistons have put together a solid 4-1 stretch after dropping four of their previous five. They turned in their best offensive effort of the season Wednesday, shooting 58.1 percent from the field - 8 for 13 from 3-point range - to win 124-112 at Sacramento.

"We've been coming together as a team," coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's a collaboration in a lot of different areas at both ends of the floor. It's not one thing or one player, it's many different things."

One reason for the recent surge has been the play of Rodney Stuckey, who had 35 points, six assists and five rebounds against the Kings. Stuckey is averaging 25.8 points and shooting 60.8 percent over his last five games.

Stuckey has struggled in his career versus Phoenix, averaging 9.4 points in seven meetings.

Tayshaun Prince had 17 points and 13 rebounds in last season's victory over the Suns, and enters this contest on the heels of a 28-point performance in Sacramento.

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