Dec 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons are on the complete opposite sides of the NBA Standings. Their game in Detroit on Sunday was a showcase of why. The Suns left this game with little to no doubt, as they defeated the Pistons in Detroit 135-108. Devin Booker lead the way for the Suns with 30 points in as many minutes, and the Suns shot 57% from the field. Cade Cunningham had 21 points on 9-15 from the field before his first career NBA ejection in the third quarter.

Detroit was good, Phoenix was better.

Often times, a difference between winning and losing in the NBA can be the turnover battle and who can stay out of foul trouble. The Suns turned over the ball more, committed more fouls, and still won by nearly 30 points. This game started with both teams shooting above 70 percent in the first quarter. Phoenix never lost that heat. The Suns have some of the best depth in the NBA, and had both Cameron Payne and Javale McGee come off the bench and score 21 points each.

Cade Cunningham was playing one of his best NBA games of his young career before his early exit. He was confidently finishing close to the basket, shot an efficient 9-15, and was able to notch a few assists as well. Corey Joseph was the other bright spot offensively, as he was able to score 21 points of his own. Trey Lyles was an offensive focal point, and despite shooting 6-8 from the field, he ended up shooting 6-13 from the line.

Detroit’s struggles in the interior continued for them against the Suns, being significantly outrebounded 51-32. On a night where the Pistons were playing good basketball on the offensive end, moving the ball and shooting well, the simple truth was that the Suns were just better. The only way the Pistons were going to win this game was if they brought the defensive intensity from Friday night. However, nothing Detroit did all game was able to slow down Phoenix. Detroit’s defense in this game towards the end felt eerily similar to Detroit’s loss to Chicago earlier in the week.

Cade Cunningham’s Ejection changed the game

The game significantly changed in the third quarter, when Cade Cunningham received his first career ejection. Cade drove in the lane and threw down a reverse dunk on Jalen Smith. Afterwards, Cade appears to point in the direction of the Pistons bench, but the refs believed this point was in the direction of Smith. Therefore, the refs give Cunningham is second technical of the game, therefore an automatic ejection.

Cade Cunningham’s ejection drew a lot of criticism from the fans on social media and in the arena alike. It’s never good to see one of your best players ejected; but when it’s over something as small as a point, that rubs salt right into the wound. Whether Cunningham’s ejection was right or wrong, it was enough to put this game away for the Suns, and the Pistons couldn’t recover.

Devin Booker Shines in his home state

Grand Rapids native Devin Booker put on an offensive clinic in his return to the state of Michigan. Booker finished with 30 points, shooting 11-18 from the field, yelling “this is my city” to fans in the stands. With the offensive display that Booker and the Suns put up, it’s hard to argue with that statement. From Booker’s emphatic slam in the third quarter, to his jump shot that cannot be stopped from anywhere on the court, Devin Booker came to play.

Coincidentally, the other Suns player who shined the brightest was Flint Native Javale McGee. At times, Javale looked like a man amongst boys, taking over the game in the third quarter with his presence on the interior alone. Neither Isaiah Stewart nor Trey Lyles had any answers against McGee, and the presence of Bol Bol really seemed sorely missed on Sunday against Phoenix.

Pistons face a difficult four game road trip

The difficulty of schedule for the Detroit Pistons does not get much easier moving forward, as their next game will be in the Chase Center against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Golden State is just 2 games back of the Suns in the Western Conference, and have title aspirations of their own. If the Pistons have any hope of defeating the splash brothers on their home court, they are gong to need to put up a much better fight defensively than they did at home against Phoenix.

Although Detroit was not able to get the win, or to keep the game particularly close, this is a game that the Pistons can take pride in. They are playing better basketball as the season goes on, and their young backcourt in Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham are continuing to show growth. A game that will most likely remembered as Cade’s first ejection will not deter the goals of the Pistons future, as they can hang their heads high. They were able to compete for a strong portion of the game against one of the best teams in the NBA. Here’s to hoping Detroit’s moral victories can turn into victories in the win column sooner rather than later.

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By Published On: January 16th, 2022Categories: Detroit Sports, NBA

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