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Detroit at Memphis

Billups, Prince steer Detroit past upset-minded Memphis

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tayshaun Prince only wanted to hit the rim and avoid a shot clock violation. He did much better than that, helping the Detroit Pistons avoid a loss to the worst team in the NBA.

Prince's 3-pointer with 1:17 left gave the Pistons a six-point lead, and Detroit escaped with a 92-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

"It was a situation where the shot clock was going off," Prince said. "I knew I put enough on it for it to get there, just to try to get the rim so somebody could get an offensive rebound. But halfway there, I knew it was good."

The 3-pointer and a 22-footer from Prince with 48 left was enough of a margin to avoid Memphis tying the game in the closing seconds.

A 3-point attempt by Rudy Gay with four seconds left was way off the mark. The rebound scramble led to a jump ball between Hakim Warrick and Chris Webber. Warrick tapped it to Mike Miller, who missed a last-second shot from the baseline. But it was only a 2-point attempt and would not have helped Memphis.

"That was a great play they drew up," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said of the final Memphis shot.

Billups had 19 points and nine assists to go with 17 points from Prince. Webber scored 13 points for Detroit, while Richard Hamilton finished with 12. Antonio McDyess had nine points, but added eight rebounds and five blocks.

Miller led Memphis with 24 points, while Pau Gasol had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Warrick finished with 13 points, while Gay scored 12.

The game was close throughout, with Detroit holding the only double-digit lead -- 10 points -- in the first half. The score was tied at the half and still close after three periods.

Memphis led with five minutes left, although it was never more than six points ahead in the fourth.

"We didn't get too frustrated," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "With 5:26 to go, I told them 'We have to execute offensively and lock down defensively.' "

An earlier 3-pointer from Prince pulled Detroit even with 4:19 left, and after McDyess blocked Gasol, Hamilton scored on the ensuing break, giving the Pistons an 84-82 lead. The two plays started an 8-0 run that gave the Pistons a lead they never relinquished.

"Down the stretch, other teams are making plays that we're not making," Warrick said. "We've just got to go out there and focus and come together."

The Pistons, who have the best record in the East, were coming off a Friday night loss at Miami. They have won 12 of their last 14.

Memphis, which has the league's worst record, lost its fourth straight, and has dropped seven of eight.

"We just didn't execute," Miller said. "They executed. They made shots, and we didn't. And it's been the story of the season."

The teams were tied at 49 at the half. Miller had 14 for Memphis and Gasol added 12, while Hamilton had 10 for Detroit.

The Pistons shot 60 percent through the early stages, with Billups and Hamilton connecting on six of their first eight shots, but Memphis stayed close.

Detroit's defense pushed Memphis out of its comfort zone and challenged most shots, particularly from Miller on the perimeter, forcing him to drive the basket, rather than shooting outside the arc.

"They're a rock solid defensive team," Memphis coach Tony Barone said. "They're physical. You'd like to get easy baskets, but the strength of their perimeter people -- Prince and Chauncey -- is they get back. We couldn't negotiate the end of the break because of it."

Detroit would build the advantage to double digits only once in the first half, but the Grizzlies used a late run to retake the lead on Miller's three-point play.

Memphis managed to put enough offense together as both teams struggled in the third period, and Gay's 17-footer at the end of the quarter gave the Grizzlies a 68-65 lead heading into the fourth. The Pistons managed only 16 points in the quarter, going 6-for-17, but that was better than Memphis, which connected on 8-for-24 in the quarter.

Still, down the stretch, Detroit was able to hold on.

"Tayshaun hit a great, great shot," Billups said. "That helped, and we stayed poised down the stretch, and did what we do. We executed when we had to and got stops when we had to."

Notes

  • The Grizzlies, who lost Friday night in Philadelphia, are now 0-18 in the second game of back-to-backs.
  • Gasol's 22 points left him nine short of surpassing Shareef Abdur-Rahim as the Grizzlies' career scoring leader.
  • Pistons F Rasheed Wallace missed his second straight game with a sore left foot. Jason Maxiell started his third game of the season in place of Wallace.
  • The Pistons have won four straight games in the series. The last seven meetings in Memphis were decided by 10 points or fewer.
  • Gasol recorded his 20th double-double of the season.
  • The five blocks by McDyess tied the season-high for Detroit.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Detroit's leader, Chauncey Billups, comes up big vs. Memphis with 19 points and nine assists.   (AP)
Detroit's leader, Chauncey Billups, comes up big vs. Memphis with 19 points and nine assists. (AP)
Scoreboard
Detroit (37-20) «2821162792
Memphis (15-46) 2326192189
DET:C. Billups 19 Pts
DET:A. McDyess 8 Reb
DET:C. Billups 9 Ast
MEM:M. Miller 24 Pts
MEM:P. Gasol 15 Reb
MEM:D. Stoudamire 8 Ast
Players of the Game
MemphisDetroit

P. Gasol

C. Billups
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
221521959

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Detroit
C. Billups, PG405-118-959219
C. Webber, C406-141-185313
R. Hamilton, SG376-120-047312
T. Prince, SF347-121-461317
J. Maxiell, PF122-51-22045
A. McDyess, PF304-71-28149
C. Delfino, PG203-60-03037
L. Hunter, SG132-60-00006
N. Mohammed, C91-21-13043
D. Davis, PF50-01-22001
R. Dupree, SF10-00-00000
R. Wallace, PFDid Not Play
R. Murray, SGDid Not Play
A. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
W. Blalock, PGDid Not Play
Totals 36-7514-2141232692
 48.0%66.7% 
Memphis
M. Miller, SF419-195-832124
R. Gay, SG415-131-282012
P. Gasol, C406-1710-13152022
D. Stoudamire, PG342-70-04805
L. Roberts, PF230-32-29032
H. Warrick, PF315-113-650413
T. Kinsey, SG152-50-03034
J. Harrington, PG143-70-03347
S. Padgett, PF20-00-01000
C. Atkins, PGDid Not Play
B. Cardinal, PFDid Not Play
S. Swift, CDid Not Play
D. Jones, SGDid Not Play
A. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
K. Lowry, PGDid Not Play
Totals 32-8221-3151171589
 39.0%67.7% 
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