AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Before leaving the court after their most lopsided win in nearly five years, the Detroit Pistons huddled near midcourt for a brief pep talk.
It’s been another mediocre season so far, but a few more performances like this would turn things around in a hurry.
“We got a great win here at home — let’s keep going,” guard Brandon Knight said. “Every day, keep building.”
Knight and Charlie Villanueva scored 19 points apiece, and the Pistons routed the Phoenix Suns 117-77 on Wednesday night. Detroit has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and has gone 5-3 since opening the season with eight straight losses.
The Pistons led 55-44 at halftime and then broke the game open when the Suns came unglued in the third quarter. Phoenix picked up four technical fouls in the third and trailed by as many as 44 in the fourth.
Detroit shot 12 of 16 from 3-point range.
“A lot of good play from a lot of good guys,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “You don’t have a lot of games like this, but obviously a lot of bright spots that we’ve got to keep on building on.”
Rodney Stuckey added 18 points for Detroit. Kyle Singler and Tayshaun Prince contributed 12 each, and Greg Monroe had nine points and eight rebounds.
Afterward, the team stayed on the court in a huddle, already trying to set the tone for the next game on the schedule.
“The message was basically: `Continue doing what we’re doing. Everybody stay together.'”
Luis Scola scored 11 points for the Suns, who beat Detroit 92-89 at Phoenix in early November.
It was Detroit’s most lopsided win since beating Milwaukee 114-69 on Dec. 31, 2007.
Phoenix was in the third game of a six-game road trip. It was 24-all after the first quarter, but the Suns went the entire second period and most of the third without a single assist.
“There was nothing that we did that you could say was even NCAA quality,” Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. “There’s not anything to say. It was an absolutely horrendous game, and we’ll have to do much, much better.”
Corey Maggette’s 3-pointer capped a 15-5 run in the second and gave Detroit a 52-38 lead. It was an 11-point game after two and the worst was still to come for the Suns.
Detroit’s Jason Maxiell and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris were called for a double technical early in the third, and Maxiell followed that with a dunk that made it 59-44. Knight was then fouled on a fast break by Shannon Brown, who was whistled for a technical of his own. The Detroit guard made all three free throws for an 18-point lead.
Goran Dragic was the next to get a technical, and when Sebastian Telfair was called for one with 5:03 left in the third, Phoenix had as many technicals in the quarter as points. A free throw by Stuckey made it 74-48.
“It’s embarrassing. No professional loses by 30 or 40,” Phoenix’s Jared Dudley said. “It’s kind of how we lost. Let’s be honest, Detroit is not a really good team. Their team has struggled, like us at times.”
At one point in the third, Gentry sent a whole new group of five to the scorer’s table to check in, although they couldn’t all do so at once because the Suns had a player shooting free throws.
Phoenix couldn’t even manage a cosmetic fourth-quarter run to make it respectable. After a 3-pointer by Knight pushed the lead to 40, Gentry called a timeout and stood with his hands on his hips, staring out at the court with a bemused look on his face. A dunk by Detroit rookie Andre Drummond made it 109-67.
NOTES: Phoenix did avoid the most lopsided loss by an NBA team this season, according to STATS, LLC. Charlotte lost to Oklahoma City 114-69 on Monday. … The last team to go a whole quarter without an assist was Toronto on Nov. 13, in the fourth against Indiana, according to STATS.