Why do Suns have in-game drama? 3 questions entering Pistons matchup

Here are three questions entering Friday’s Suns-Pistons matchup set for 7 p.m. at Footprint Center.

Bally Sports Arizona is televising the game.

Phoenix (11-6) and Detroit (5-15) have each won their last two games. The Suns are coming off a 115-105 victory Tuesday over the Los Angeles Lakers while the Pistons won at Utah, 125-116, Wednesday.

Why does drama seem to follow the Suns in games?

One, they have some trash talkers starting with Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Cameron Payne.

If you believe what Anthony Davis said after Tuesday night’s game, Deandre Ayton chats it up, too.

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) reacts after Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley (21) pushed him to the ground in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.. Beverley was ejected from the game.
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) reacts after Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley (21) pushed him to the ground in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.. Beverley was ejected from the game.

Then there are the in-game celebrations.

Mikal Bridges with the 3-ball as he’ll do it front of opposing team’s bench after making a 3.

The Suns say they just play hard, and teams just get frustrated. Torrey Craig said they never start anything.

It's hard to believe the latter, but the Suns not only enjoy winning, they celebrate it on the court in their attitude, demeanor and chatter.

That’s not so well received by the opponent, especially during and after a loss.

Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic and center Jalen Duren congratulate each other after the Pistons' 125-116 win on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Salt Lake City.
Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic and center Jalen Duren congratulate each other after the Pistons' 125-116 win on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

What’s this recent turn with Detroit?

The Pistons lost seven straight before this current two-game win streak during their six-game road trip that ends Friday in Phoenix.

They led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter before holding off a late Denver rally to win, 110-108, and closed out Utah late in their 125-118 victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic put up 23 points on his former team, but also went to work against the Nuggets with a 22-point, nine-rebound effort. He’s playing very good basketball and is a good veteran presence there.

Detroit’s not a great shooting team (24th in the league in 3-point shooting at 33.4%), but the Pistons protect the ball (seventh in fewest turnovers per game at 14.1). The latter gives the Pistons a fighting chance every night.

Pistons forward Kevin Knox II reacts to his 3-point basket in the second quarter against the Nuggets on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Denver.
Pistons forward Kevin Knox II reacts to his 3-point basket in the second quarter against the Nuggets on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Denver.

A key player of late has been Kevin Knox II.

A one-and-done out of Kentucky, Knox II fizzled out in New York and is only averaging 5.1 points in his first year in Detroit, but he has posted three straight double-figure games. He went for 17 points and eight boards against Denver and cooked Utah with 6-of-8 shooting from 3 in a season-high 21-point effort.

See if Knox keeps trending upward against Phoenix.

How much longer for Chris Paul and Landry Shamet to return?

Suns coach Monty Williams said they both did “everything” in Wednesday’s practice, but are listed out for Friday’s game.

Surprising.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Paul has missed seven straight games with what must be more than a sore right heel while Shamet has been sidelined six games in concussion protocols.

Shamet’s absence is understandable because the brain isn’t as simple to diagnose as an ankle sprain. He’s been rather active in his post practice work during media viewing.

As for Paul, conditioning could be just as much an issue as the heel, which may have kept him from staying in shape. So even when Paul's heel is good to go, Williams may use a couple of days to work on his conditioning.

With that being said, both could play Saturday against Utah before Phoenix goes on the road to face the Kings on Monday.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul applauds during action against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul applauds during action against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Footprint Center on Nov. 22, 2022.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

Support local journalism. Start your online subscription.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why Suns have in-game drama? 3 questions entering Pistons matchup