Suns welcome free-falling Pistons to Phoenix

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The free-falling Detroit Pistons will start a three-game western trek Friday against the Phoenix Suns.

The Pistons will also visit the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers, and are 1-8 on the road. They are 1-10 against the Western Conference this season and have lost the last 13 games.

Detroit, which hasn't prevailed since Nov. 14 at Oklahoma City and is riding a four-game road skid, dropped a 98-86 decision to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and was paced by Greg Monroe's 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Pistons pulled within 81-77 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Blazers held on to send Detroit to its 10th consecutive defeat at The Palace.

Andre Drummond collected 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, whose 13- game slide is the franchise's longest since it also dropped 13 straight from Dec. 15 - Jan. 11 of the 2009-10 season. Caron Butler scored 13 points off the bench.

"Confidence may be a problem; our play is a big problem," Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Our defense has to have a lot more resolve, but I think the vast majority of guys in there have not let go."

The Pistons may get a boost with the pending return of sharpshooting guard Jodie Meeks. Meeks has yet to play with his new team because of a stress reaction in his lower back.

Meeks signed a multi-year deal with Detroit as a free agent on July 14 after averaging a career-best 15.7 points in 77 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

The Suns will try to stop a three-game slide Friday and have lost five of their past seven games, including Tuesday's 103-97 setback to the Miami Heat.

Marcus Morris posted a career-high 25 points off the bench, Gerald Green added 19 in a reserve role and Markieff Morris ended with 17. Goran Dragic had 16 points for Phoenix, which shot a decent 48.1 percent and committed 23 turnovers.

"We made plays, but our shots just didn't fall," Suns guard Eric Bledsoe said.

Suns reserve guard Isaiah Thomas (ankle) is probable Friday and hasn't played since Nov. 24 at Toronto. He is averaging 15.5 points per game.

Phoenix is 6-5 at home this season and defeated Detroit, 88-86, on Nov. 19 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Bledsoe's go-ahead layup with 28.7 seconds left lifted the Suns to victory and he ended with 18 points. Brandon Jennings led Detroit with 19 points and Monroe added 18 to go along with 12 rebounds.

The Pistons have lost six in a row in Phoenix.