AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 points and the Detroit Pistons overcame a sluggish performance for the much of the game, finally pulling away from the short-handed Phoenix Suns for a 112-95 victory Sunday.
The Suns were without several top players, but they still led the playoff-chasing Pistons 65-53 in the third quarter. Detroit finished strong in that period and then built a double-digit lead of its own in the fourth.
Andre Drummond had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons, and Aron Baynes had 13 points and 17 rebounds.
Tyler Ulis had 17 points and 11 assists for the Suns.
Phoenix was without guard Devin Booker (right ankle), guard Ronnie Price (left leg), guard Leandro Barbosa (illness) and forward Dragan Bender (right ankle). The Suns have also been playing without Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler, choosing to give young players more time.
Detroit went on a 16-0 run in the first quarter but was only up by one point at the end of the period. The Suns were ahead 49-47 at halftime.
The Pistons scored the final six points of the third quarter, then began the fourth with five in a row to lead 82-75. A 3-pointer by Reggie Jackson made it 88-77.
Suns: Phoenix signed forward Jarell Eddie to a 10-day contract before the game.
Pistons: Caldwell-Pope had eight of Detroit’s 26 assists.
The Pistons entered a game behind Miami and Milwaukee, who were occupying the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Heat hosted Portland later Sunday.
Suns: Visit the Miami Heat on Tuesday night in the second game of a six-game road trip.
Pistons: Visit the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. Detroit’s next three games are against last-place teams, but they’re all on the road. The Pistons face Chicago and Orlando after taking on Brooklyn.