Suns go for 6th straight win against Pistons
By NOEY KUPCHAN
Their longest winning streak of the season has the high-scoring Phoenix Suns on the brink of the .500 mark.
The Detroit Pistons may have a hard time keeping up as they continue to play without a healthy Richard Hamilton.
The Suns seek to remain undefeated on their current five-game road trip and earn a sixth straight win overall when they visit the Pistons on Saturday night.
Phoenix (20-21) improved to 3-0 on its trip with a 109-91 victory over Washington on Friday night, and now has a chance to even its record for the first time since Dec. 19. The Suns are averaging 115.4 points during their five-game winning streak.
“We’ve given away a lot of games already and had a lot of bad performances,” said point guard Steve Nash, who had 17 points and 14 assists against the Wizards.
“We’ve got to try to gain this momentum and ride it and see how much ground we can make up and then build on it, and hopefully become a better team so we can beat some of the good teams as well.”
Channing Frye went 7 of 11 from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 25 points Friday. The Suns are 7-0 when Frye makes at least four 3-pointers.
“When Channing shoots the ball like that we are really tough, it allows us to have an open avenue for drives,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “It also allows the help to come and we become a really unselfish team.”
The 91 points surrendered were the fewest given up by Phoenix since it beat Detroit (15-28) 92-75 on Dec. 31. The Suns have won five straight meetings with the Pistons by an average of 17.2 points.
The Pistons have held Hamilton out of the lineup for undisclosed reasons for six consecutive games, including an 89-74 loss in New Jersey on Friday night.
Hamilton’s name had come up as part of a three-team trade that would have sent him – along with Denver Nuggets’ superstar Carmelo Anthony and others – to New Jersey. That potential deal was squashed by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday.
“You know they sat me down and you hear all these different allegations for why they sat me down and things like that,” said Hamilton, who had averaged 20.8 points in his previous 15 meetings with Phoenix before finishing with five in last month’s loss. “It was crazy to me because I want to play basketball. I want to get out there and perform, that’s all I have been doing since I have been in the NBA.”
Detroit (15-28) returns home after totaling 156 points in losses at Boston and the Nets. The Pistons shot a season-worst 33.3 percent from the floor Friday, including a 3-for-15 effort in the fourth quarter.
“It’s very disappointing, but that’s been the story of this year, just inconsistent,” guard Ben Gordon said. “In the NBA, that is not going to cut it.”
Gordon is averaging 25.6 points in his last nine games against Phoenix. He had 19 in the New Year’s Eve loss.