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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pistons at Suns preview

The opponent — The Suns (10-3) are a half game behind Atlanta for the best record in the NBA and are coming off a loss at New Orleans on Friday.

Steve Nash is playing like an MVP candidate again despite being 35-years-old and is averaging 16.8 points and 11.8 assists.

Amare Stoudemire (19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1 block) remains one of the top offensive big men in the league and his frontcourt partner Channing Frye (13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds) is having a career year and is second in the league in 3-pointers made (36).

Jason Richardson (16.7 points, 5.4 rebounds) and the timeless Grant Hill (12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds) round out one of the best starting fives in the NBA.

Leandro Barbosa (11.0 points) and Jared Dudley (9.7 points) are key players off the Suns’ bench.

Key matchup — Pistons Rodney Stuckey vs. Suns’ Steve Nash: The Suns whole offense runs through Nash so Stuckey will have to make Nash work not only for his offense, but try to keep the ball out of Nash’s hands as much as possible so Nash can’t create for others. As good as Nash is offensively, his defense is nearly as bad so Stuckey will have to make him pay at that end of the floor. Stuckey has scored in double figures in every game this season.

The skinny — The Pistons conclude a disappointing and brutal West Coast road trip at Phoenix Sunday night. Detroit lost in overtime to the Jazz on Saturday night, while the Suns had the night off so once again Detroit will have heavy legs against a fresh team.

The Pistons have now lost four straight and could use a victory before returning home for a three-game home stand against the Cavaliers, Clippers and Hawks. Three games that are not exactly easy wins with the Cavs and Hawks being two of the top teams in the East and the Clippers a talented team that is better than their 5-9 record.

After being on the road all week, most teams would be ready to get this game over with and go home, but Pistons coach John Kuester has shown he can get this team to come out with an inspired effort in every game. The problem is the Pistons likely don’t have much left in the tank and the Suns are one of the top teams in the league, so this game has loss written all over it.

Prediction: Suns 106, Pistons 97; Pemberton’s record: 7-6

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