Sunday , Dec , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Suns, Pistons square off at The Palace

(Sports Network) – A battle of division leaders takes place today as the
Phoenix Suns visit the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Suns have alternated wins and losses over their last four games after
ripping off a franchise-record 15 straight wins. On Friday Phoenix notched a
108-86 win over the New York Knicks at US Airways Center.

Steve Nash and Raja Bell each scored 20 points to lead the Suns. Nash added
nine assists, while Leandro Barbosa scored 16 points off the bench. Shawn
Marion scored 14 points and Kurt Thomas had 12 points and nine rebounds for
Phoenix, which has won 17 of its last 19 contests.

The Pacific Division-leading Suns are 8-5 as the visitor this season and two
games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the division.

Meanwhile, Detroit has dropped two in a row after a five-game winning streak,
including Friday’s 93-92 setback to the Indiana Pacers at The Palace.

Chauncey Billups had 23 points and a career high 12 rebounds for the Pistons.
Billups, though, had to leave the game late because of a calf injury and will
miss at least 10 days with the injury.

Richard Hamilton had 22 points in the loss. Rasheed Wallace netted six points
with seven boards and was limited to just over 21 minutes because of an

Detroit, which is just a half game ahead of Chicago in the Central standings,
went 2-0 against Phoenix last season and has won five of six and seven of the
last nine meetings.

Phoenix has lost three straight after winning its last four at Detroit.