Kings-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

After a horrendous start, the Detroit Pistons are playing their best basketball of the season.

The Sacramento Kings also looked like they were starting to turn things around, but the beginning of a tough road stretch has returned them to their losing ways.

Coming off an impressive win away from home, Detroit looks to continue its recent success Friday night when it meets a Sacramento team playing its third road game in four nights.

The Pistons began their first season 4-20 under coach Lawrence Frank. Detroit, though, matched its win total over that span with four consecutive victories Feb. 3-10.

A two-game skid followed that run, but the Pistons bounced back with a 98-88 win in Boston on Wednesday night as Frank tinkered with his lineup.

Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Ben Gordon hit three 3-pointers in the opening 4:09 of the fourth quarter for Detroit, which played with three guards for stretches in the game.

"It gives us a little different look, especially when (Ben's) running the team," Frank said. "If something works, I'll stay with it. Heck, I'll play five bigs if I have to. We're not 28-2. I'll continue to experiment."

Greg Monroe had 22 points and nine rebounds, and Gordon also scored 22 in his fifth game back after missing 10 due to a sore left shoulder. Gordon has come off the bench since returning after starting all 15 contests he appeared in prior to getting hurt.

"I think (the smaller lineup) gives us an advantage," said Gordon, who was 4 of 6 on 3s in the final quarter. "It gets us to the long rebounds to get on the break."

Detroit (9-22) seems to have a solid chance of picking up another win Friday, as Sacramento (10-19) enters on a three-game losing streak. The Kings had won four of five prior to that slide.

Sacramento has also struggled in the series, dropping nine of the past 13 meetings. The Kings lost 110-106 in their last visit to The Palace of Auburn Hills on Jan. 15, 2011, as the Pistons had six players score in double figures.

Seven Knicks reached that mark Wednesday night in the Kings' 100-85 loss in New York. They've allowed their last three opponents to shoot 50.0 percent or better, and Chicago made 52.4 percent of its attempts Tuesday night as Sacramento opened its season-high six-game trip with a 121-115 loss.

"They made shots," point guard Tyreke Evans said after leading the Kings with 19 points at Madison Square Garden. "It seemed like they were making everything tonight."

Evans is off to a good start to the trip, having scored 27 against the Bulls. He had 25 points and 11 assists in last season's visit to The Palace.

The Kings, who will play their six road games over a nine-day span leading into the All-Star break, have the most road losses in the Western Conference with 14.

Sacramento has dropped five of its last seven at Auburn Hills.

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