AUBURN HILLS, MI – Lawrence Frank thought his team was on the verge of turning the corner. It’s hard to imagine the second-year Pistons coach anticipated a performance like tonight.
The Pistons shot 12-16 from 3-point range and had five players with double digit scoring totals en route to defeating the visiting Phoenix Suns 117-77. Brandon Knight and Charlie Villanueva led the way with 19 points each, and Rodney Stuckey finished with 18 points. After an injury riddled 2011 season and a slow start to the 2012 season, Villanueva has averaged over 15 points in the last three games.
“Charlie has done a great job of spreading the floor,” said veteran teammate Tayshaun Prince. “Offensively, he gives us great balance.”
Prince added 12 points for the Pistons, who have won 5 out of their last 8 games after starting the season 0-8. Greg Monroe had nine points and eight rebounds and rookie Andre Drummond also grabbed nine boards in a season-high 25 minutes. Drummond has seen an increasing role as a member of the Pistons’ second unit with Stuckey and Villanueva.
“I’m getting a lot more comfortable,” said Drummond, “and I know where I need to be.”
On the other side, Phoenix suffered their worst loss of the season and falls to 2-6 on the road. Suns coach Alvin Gentry went as far as calling the game “a total abortion” for his team.
“There was nothing we did that was even NCAA quality,” he expressed during the postgame press conference. “I don’t think we competed hard and we didn’t try to match their energy level.”
Luis Scola led Phoenix with 11 points, while Markieff Morris and Goran Dragic had 10 points each. Both Michael Beasley and Sebastian Telfair were held to just two points, and were taken out early in the third quarter. The Suns were assessed four technical fouls during the third quarter.
“We just lost control and didn’t play well,” said Dragic. “It was just overall a terrible game for us.”
Phoenix concludes their six-game roadtrip with games at Toronto on Friday, New York on Sunday, and Memphis on Tuesday. The Pistons begin a two game roadtrip with back to back games in Memphis on Friday and Dallas on Saturday before hosting Cleveland on Monday. Detroit’s 40 point win was the team’s first since 2007.