Observations: Pistons rise to level of their premium competition

Detroit trailed by 23 points before beating Phoenix, which came in with the…

Observations: Pistons rise to level of their premium competition
Observations: Pistons rise to level of their premium competition 1

Rod Beard
 
| The Detroit News

Detroit — The good teams keep coming, and the Pistons’ schedule is more like a trip through the best teams in the league than anything else. It continued Friday with the Phoenix Suns, who entered with the best record in the Western Conference.

The Pistons trailed by 23 points in the first half after an outburst by former Pistons Langston Galloway, but they bounced back with some good defense and some good 3-point shooting of their own.

They held on to get their second win of the season, with a 110-105 overtime victory over the Suns on Friday at Little Caesars Arena.

Here are some quick takeaways from the matchup:

Doing it the Galloway: Langston Galloway, who was with the Pistons for three seasons before going to the Suns in free agency before this season, had a welcome-home party, hosted, attended and catered by himself. Galloway had a hot start, making a floater to start the third quarter — but he was far from done. He also made his next five shots — all 3-pointers, including three on consecutive possessions — scoring 17 points in nine minutes. On his next attempt, Galloway finally missed, but he had outscored the Pistons, 17-11, through the first six minutes of the period. The Pistons, in reforming their roster, didn’t bring Galloway back this season, and he had his own version of a revenge game. In the pregame warmups, Galloway had some warm greetings for his former teammates.

Jackson is back: The Pistons got Josh Jackson back after he missed the past two games because of a sprained right ankle. His performance looked like he hadn’t played in a few days. Jackson was 2-of-8 in the first half and missed his first two shots of the third quarter. His shooting eye looked to be off, as he had a couple of bad misses and seemed to be pressing to get other shots off in traffic. Some of that rustiness is expected and it likely will return in a few games as he gets re-acclimated.

Another Jackson: Frank Jackson, on a two-way contract, had his first minutes with the Pistons this season, had a productive first game, with three points in six minutes in the first half. With Killian Hayes out, the Pistons have to dig into their depth at point guard and after Delon Wright and Derrick Rose, it’s either Saben Lee, who played in Wednesday game against the Milwaukee Bucks, or Jackson. In his debut, Jackson didn’t look out of place in any of the plays and had a good stint as the backup. Jackson played his previous two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, playing 59 games last season and 61 games as a rookie in 2018-19. At 6-foot-3, he’s a good defensive option and may be a little more ready to contribute at this point than Lee.

Wright way: As the starting point guard, Delon Wright has been better than in his games as a reserve. He had 10 points in the first half and was steady against the Suns’ defense, going 4-of-7 and showing an ability to break down the perimeter and create other opportunities in the paint. It’s a comfortable fill-in in the interim, with his veteran experience. That was one of the reasons the Pistons sought him, with his savvy at running either guard spot and providing some additional ball-handling, especially against some of the veteran guards in the league, such as Chris Paul. At 6-5, he has a comparable matchup advantage to what Hayes brings. 

Blake’s bounce: Blake Griffin looked to have a bit more bounce to his step and was more active in the paint. In the first few games of the season, he was focused more on the perimeter and shooting 3-pointers, including his game with nine 3-pointers. He got to the free-throw line a few more times and was more of a threat offensively. With the Pistons playing zone, Griffin was able to play in the middle more and protect the paint.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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