Suns look to build on valiant effort as Pistons visit

PHOENIX — One team coming off an embarrassing loss and one team coming off a heartbreaking defeat meet up when the Detroit Pistons visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The Pistons (4-3) opened a four-game road trip Monday with a 114-82 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, extending their losing streak at Staples Center — where the Clippers and Lakers play — to 11 games. The last time Detroit won a game in that building was Nov. 12, 2010, when they beat the Clippers.

The Suns (2-6) rallied from as many as 18 points down Tuesday but were unable to get over the hump in a 124-121 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers. The guard tandem of Eric Bledsoe (31 points) and Devin Booker (23) combined for 54 points, but the Suns couldn't overcome a 71-point backcourt effort from Portland's Damian Lillard (38 points) and CJ McCollum (33).

Detroit hasn't won on the road this season and didn't come close to changing that Monday, shooting just 36 percent from the field and falling behind by 30 points at the half.

“For me, this is a game I will always keep in my mind until at least we fix it,” Detroit swingman Stanley Johnson told the Detroit Free Press. “This is straight-out embarrassing.”

Johnson, a second-year player out of Arizona, is averaging 4.1 points per game off the bench for Detroit, which gave up 62 first-half points and didn't reach 50 themselves until late in the third quarter.

“We didn't have any patience to move the ball,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy told the Free Press. “We didn't execute, we didn't screen. You're not going to get stuff easy against that defense. I didn't have our guys ready to play against that offense. I think that was pretty obvious.”

The Suns obviously were disappointed with the end result at Portland, but they were played with their comeback.

“We never give up,” Booker said. “It's a good team over there. Every time we play (the Blazers), it's going to be a war. They got the edge tonight, but next time we're going to be ready.”

The Phoenix rally was spurred by forwards P.J. Tucker (11 points, nine rebounds and five steals) and rookie Dragan Bender (10 points, a plus-19 in his 23 minutes on the floor). Phoenix they tied the game with an 11-0 run with eight minutes to play. The Suns were within a point twice in the final 20 seconds before falling short.

The Suns went 1-2 on a three-game road trip that began with an overtime win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday but ended with road losses to the Lakers and Blazers.

Booker, 20, had 38 points against the Pelicans and 39 against the Lakers, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to have back-to-back games of at least 38 points.

Detroit got some good news on the off-day Monday. Guard Reggie Jackson returned to basketball activities for the first time since receiving platelet-rich plasma injections in his left knee and right thumb just before preseason. His return to the lineup is still up in the air.

“I got up some shots and got to move around a little bit,” Jackson told the Free Press. “I did a few cuts, but nothing real major.”

Former Sun Marcus Morris is averaging 16.4 points per game for Detroit, second on the team to Tobias Harris' 17.9. Andre Drummond averages 13.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.

Two other former Suns have regular roles with Detroit. Ish Smith has been starting at point guard in Jackson's absence, and Jon Leuer is averaging 10.0 poijts per game as a frontcourt reserve.