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Pistons Travel To Phoenix To Play Slumping Suns

(Sports Network) - The reeling Phoenix Suns hope to put the brakes on a four- game skid tonight when they entertain the Detroit Pistons at US Airways Center.

Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday scored 25 points to go along with seven assists and rookie Evan Turner added 23 points in a reserve role on Wednesday as the Sixers topped the Suns, 123-110.

Steve Nash led Phoenix with 23 points and dished out 15 assists, but the Suns couldn't stop what is now a season-high hiccup. Grant Hill added 17 points, five assists and five rebounds.

"It's frustrating. We're losing, we're not playing well defensively, we're practicing our defense and it's not carrying over to the game, and it's frustrating, so we got to fight through it," Nash said. "We've got to test ourselves, our mental strength and our emotional commitment everyday and try to bring it and get better and not let it get to us."

Vince Carter contributed 18 points in his Suns debut. The former All-Star missed four games with a sore knee since being acquired by the Suns in a six- player trade with Orlando on December 18. Mickael Pietrus, who was a part of the six-player Orlando deal, finished with 15 points in 26 minutes of play. The other Phoenix acquisition, Marcin Gortat, scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in the loss.

The Suns, who are allowing a Western Conference-worst 107.5 points per game this season, have not been below .500 this late in a season since 2003-04 and are hoping to avoid losing five in a row for the for the first time since dropping six straight from March 3-12, 2009.

The Pistons, who are opening up a three-game western road trip tonight, are coming off perhaps their most impressive win of the season, a 104-92 triumph over Eastern heavyweight Boston. Tracy McGrady started in place of an ill Rodney Stuckey in that one and Detroit took advantage of an early injury to Kevin Garnett to beat the Celtics.

Garnett departed the contest late in the first quarter with a lower right leg injury. The 13-time All-Star went up for a dunk with nearly 2 1/2 minutes left in the period, hung on the rim and landed softly but was limping afterward.

McGrady took over in a big way, hitting 7-of-11 shots for 21 points and dishing out eight assists to help the Pistons snap a two-game skid.

"It speaks volumes for him in regards to our team responding," Pistons coach John Kuester said of McGrady running the point. "The last two games going into Christmas I thought we made strides. We lost a tough game in overtime, didn't play particularly well in Charlotte but our second unit worked so hard to get us back into the game and we ended up having two great looks and tonight was a big win."

It was Boston's first game against the Pistons since a verbal war between Detroit forward Charlie Villanuevaand Garnett. Following Boston's November 2 blowout win over the Pistons, Villanueva said via Twitter that Garnett called him a "cancer patient." Villanueva has a medical condition known as alopecia universalis, which results in hair loss. A day later, Garnett said he instead told Villanueva, "you are cancerous to your team and our league."

During the first half, Villanueva noticeably bumped Garnett as he went back toward the Detroit bench, but nothing came of the contact.

Villanueva finished with 14 points, four less than teammate Tayshaun Prince.

Stuckey is expected back in the lineup tonight as the Pistons try and stop a four-game slide against the Suns.