By Ron Wynn
The Memphis Grizzlies got the second half of the NBA season underway in fine form Tuesday night, demolishing the Detroit Pistons 105-91. A 23-3 second quarter run effectively eliminated much opposition from a Pistons’ team still trying to rebuild, and plagued by turnovers and poor shooting.
A hot Detroit start (30 points in the first quarter) was negated by eight second quarter turnovers and a nearly eight-minute scoring drought (one basket). After that, the Grizzlies pretty much went on cruise control. The fourth quarter made the final score much closer than the game was when both teams had their first units on the floor.
Zac Randolph had his 31st double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and getting 10 rebounds, while Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 19 points. But it was the Grizzlies second unit who turned in a dominant performance in the second quarter, really turning the game around. They outscored the Pistons 31-12, turning an eight-point deficit into an 11-point halftime lead (53-42).
The Pistons got only 18 points in the third quarter, while the Grizzlies had a second straight 31-point period, ending any suspense and allowing Memphis to rest its starters almost the entire last quarter.
Brandon Knight had 13 points for the Pistons, and Jose Calderon 10 as Detroit dropped to 21-34, next to last in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division. They are ahead of the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers (16-37).
Memphis has a game tonight against another sub-.500 team, the Toronto Raptors. They will face former comrade Rudy Gay for the first time since the trade that saw him leave the Grizzlies.
Memphis remains three games ahead of Denver in the loss column at 34-18 to 34-21, and five ahead of Golden State (30-23) in the race for the fourth playoff spot and home court in the first round of the playoffs.
Photo By: AP Photo/Duane Burleson