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Cade Cunningham ejected in Pistons loss to Suns

Cade Cunningham Suns Pistons Basketball
Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 17, 2022

DETROIT (AP) — Devin Booker scored 30 points and JaVale McGee added 20 as the Phoenix Suns beat the Detroit Pistons 135-108 on Sunday.

“I was just hitting shots and the guys were getting me the ball in good places,” said Booker, who grew up in western Michigan. “I never got to see the Pistons play in person very often - I grew up about two hours west of here - so I love coming here to play what was my favorite team growing up.”

Cameron Payne added 19 points for Phoenix, which has won six of seven. The Suns had six players in double figures.

“We had two 39-point quarters, so we were obviously hitting shots,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Detroit wears teams out by getting into the paint and getting to the line, and we were able to stay away from a lot of that.”

Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham finished with 21 points before being ejected in the third quarter.

Cory Joseph also scored 21 for Detroit, which is 5-4 in 2022 after finishing 2021 with 18 losses in 19 games.

“That’s a championship-tier team, and we’re not at that level yet,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We know that, and there’s not much we can do about it right now. When we did things well, they were able to match us.

“Playing teams like that is how a young team learns to win.”

Phoenix built a 64-54 halftime lead behind 21 points from Booker, and JaVale McGee scored eight points in the first three minutes of the third to move the margin to 15.

“We knew they were going to attack us any time Book came off the floor,” Payne said. “When you’re on the second unit, you know the biggest priority is getting stops. We’re not calling a lot of plays - we’re just trying to get points in transition.”

It was 79-60 when the Pistons switched to a zone defense, but Jae Crowder promptly hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep Phoenix comfortably ahead.

After Booker blew through the Pistons defense for a dunk, Cunningham answered with a reverse dunk at the other end to make it 89-69. Cunningham pointed at Booker after the play and was called for his second technical foul of the game, ending his night.

“I guess they saw him pointing at someone and thought it was the guy he dunked on,” Casey said. “I’ve certainly seen worse things than that not get called.”

Suns forward DeAndre Ayton left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle.

TIP-INS

Suns: Thanks to technicals and a flagrant foul, the Suns had a pair of five-point possessions, including one in their third-quarter surge.

Pistons: All four of Detroit’s losses since New Year’s Day have been by at least 27 points. ... Josh Jackson was ejected in the fourth quarter for picking up his second technical foul.

ALMOST LIKE HOME

Booker said he had 40-50 friends and family at the game after having numerous guests when the Suns played in Indiana on Friday.

“Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get to have anything like normal interaction with my family,” he said. “But at least I got to see them and I got to wave to a lot of friends. That’s better than what we’ve getting.”

UP NEXT

Suns: Visit San Antonio on Monday.

Pistons: Visit Golden State on Tuesday.