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    Hot-shooting Pistons blast Suns in Phoenix solidify East playoff spot

    Mar 22, 2019
    Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown celebrate in the second half.
    PHOTO: ap

    PHOENIX — Wayne Ellington scored 23 points and the Detroit Pistons made 17 3-pointers in a 118-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time).

    The Pistons turned a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter into a 13-point advantage in a span of less than two minutes, featuring two dunks by Andre Drummond. Drummond finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds.

    Blake Griffin, who was rested for Detroit's loss at Cleveland on Monday, returned and struggled with his shot, going just 4 of 17. But he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

    Detroit outscored Phoenix 31-18 in the fourth quarter. The Pistons have won three of four and are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference after 71 games played.

    Devin Booker scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half for the Suns, who have lost four of five. Deandre Ayton added 20 points.

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    Suns forward Josh Jackson left the game with 5:45 left in the third quarter after leaping to block Thon Maker's shot attempt at the rim and landing awkwardly on his right ankle. Jackson got up and was helped off the court, and his injury was announced as a sprained ankle.

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    The Suns got off to a strong start, making 13 of 19 shots in the first quarter for a 32-29 lead. Booker scored 15 points in the quarter on 6-of-7 shooting.

    Back-to-back 3s from Luke Kennard off the Pistons bench gave Detroit an early second-quarter lead, but neither team led by more than five points throughout the first half. Kennard finished with 16 points.

    Ellington, who earlier in the season was traded to the Suns but bought out before ever suiting up in Phoenix colors, had 13 first-half points.

    Ayton scored 14 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting, and the Suns led 60-58 at the break.

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    Ellington's 3 over a double-team gave the Pistons an 81-72 lead with 3:32 left in the third quarter.

    The Suns turned the ball over 19 times for the game, and one led to Drummond's transition dunk with 9:34 to play in the fourth quarter for a 93-84 lead.


    A fan sitting courtside got a perfectly timed photo of himself with the court in the background, and Booker — walking by at the exact moment — looking at the camera.


    Members of the Arizona Diamondbacks attended Thursday's game, with outfielders Adam Jones and Steven Souza Jr. taking part in a 3-point shooting contest for charity between the first and second quarters. Outfielder David Peralta also attended, sitting courtside.


    PISTONS: Detroit has won five straight against the Suns. ... Former Suns guard Ish Smith had 11 points in 24 minutes. ... Griffin was assessed a technical foul early in the third quarter moments after he'd been called for an offensive foul.

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    SUNS: F Kelly Oubre Jr. missed his second straight game with a left thumb sprain. ... G Tyler Johnson missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee. ... F-C Richaun Holmes was cleared to play before the game and returned after missing two games with a strained quadriceps. He took a nasty spill trying to block Griffin's shot in the first quarter, landing neck-first on the court, but stayed in the game.


    Pistons: At Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

    Suns: At Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

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    Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown celebrate in the second half.
    PHOTO: ap
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