By NOAH TRISTER/AP Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Josh Smith’s driving, left-handed bank shot with 1.2 seconds left gave the Detroit Pistons a 110-108 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
Smith was involved in a few big plays in the final half-minute – both good and bad. His 3-pointer as the shot clock expired put Detroit ahead 108-105 with 26.8 seconds left. Then he fouled Gerald Green while the Phoenix guard was shooting a 3-pointer. Green made all three free throws to tie it with 4.3 seconds remaining.
Smith took the ensuing inbounds pass near the top of the key, drove to the right and then switched hands, making a tough shot while being tightly defended by Channing Frye.
Green’s shot at the buzzer from in front of the Detroit bench missed badly.
Smith finished with 25 points, and Brandon Jennings had eight points, 18 assists and eight rebounds for Detroit. Greg Monroe added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Frye led Phoenix with 21 points.
The Suns tied the game with a 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter, but Detroit responded with a 7-0 run. It was 105-97 before Phoenix scored eight straight points, tying it on a 3-pointer by PJ Tucker with 51.2 seconds left.
The Pistons barely got a shot off on their next possession, but Smith was able to free himself on the left wing and connect from 3-point range.
Jennings equaled team records held by Isiah Thomas with 11 assists in the first quarter and 16 in the first half. His final total of 18 is the highest by an NBA player this season.
Detroit has been a disappointment after signing Smith and trading for Jennings in the offseason, but those two looked sharp for most of the night Saturday. In the first quarter, the Pistons looked as smooth and cohesive as they have all season, repeatedly beating the transition-oriented Suns down the court for easy baskets.
Jennings tossed an alley-oop off the backboard to Andre Drummond for a 12-3 lead, and later in the quarter his alley-oop to Smith gave him 10 assists. Jennings then found Kyle Singler for a dunk that made it 35-19.
The Pistons finished the quarter with 16 assists on 17 field goals – and a 35-21 lead.
Even when Jennings shot an airball at the end of the second quarter, Drummond was there to tip it in at the buzzer for a 64-51 lead. Detroit had 50 points in the paint in the first half.
The last player with 16 assists in a half was Jason Kidd, who did it April 5, 2009, for Dallas, according to STATS. That was also against Phoenix.
The last player with at least 11 assists in a quarter was Steve Blake, who had 14 for Portland in 2009.
Phoenix was without guard Eric Bledsoe, who had surgery Friday on his right knee.
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