It was a 112-84 win for the Memphis Grizzlies in Detroit against the Pistons! Tony Allen was declared out shortly before the game and the Pistons were wearing their sharp 'Motor City' alternates, so a Grizzlies blowout win might not have been the first thing you'd have predicted. (No complaints, I'm sure.)
The Grizzlies got balanced scoring from both their starters and the substitutes. We'll delve deeper into all of this later on, but Jon Leuer tied his career-high with 23 points, Ed Davis had 17, Zach Randolph had 16, and both Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince finished with 15. For the Pistons, they were led by efficient performances from Greg Monroe (19 points) and Andre Drummond (15). However, a lack of production from the bench and a 2-for-14 shooting line from Brandon Jennings made it difficult for them to keep up.
Though they won big, the Grizzlies came out to a slow start on both ends of the floor. Prince made a few jumpers, but the Pistons quickly went into a zone look that stifled the Grizzlies for a while. Defensively, the Grizzlies couldn't stop the Pistons who made a concentrated effort to get the ball inside to their big men. Brandon Jennings was finding his teammates well out of the pick-and-roll, and the Pistons' bigs proved difficult to contain in the post. It took a burst of Conley and Leuer late in the first quarter for the Grizzlies to catch up and escape the first quarter with a one point lead.
Detroit was able to claim a more significant lead in the second quarter. The game was slowed down, with both teams grabbing more offensive rebounds and earning more trips to the free throw line. The Grizzlies usually play well in that style of game, but again they struggled against the Pistons' big men. While Drummond, Monroe and Smith combined for 16 points in the quarter, the only bright spot for the Grizzlies was Leuer. He recorded 12 points in the second while nobody else scored more than 3. The Pistons would've had an even better quarter were it not for their 5-for-9 shooting from the free throw line (Drummond went 3-for-6).
The third quarter was much better, and unlike many other games this season, the Grizzlies actually won the game coming out of the halftime break. Unlike in the second, the Grizzlies saw contributions from every player they played. Leading the charge were Randolph, Conley and Prince as all three of them played the entire quarter. Z-Bo did work on the glass, picking up 7 boards in the quarter, and both Conley and Prince remained consistent offensive options to support Z-Bo's effort in the post.
While the Grizzlies shot 50% from the field, it might've been even more important that they were finally able to limit the Pistons offense to the tune of 5-for-21 in the third. Their big men were neutralized as Monroe and Smoove shot a combined 2-for-9, while Drummond picked up 3 fouls in the first 4 minutes. Kosta Koufos played outstanding defense, and Detroit was only able to score 4 points in the paint after recording 30 there in the first half.
Going into the fourth quarter down 12, the Pistons still had a chance of getting back into the game. They just couldn't get anything going, however. The dubious perimeter trio of Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups and Kyle Singler weren't able to get much of anything going as the fourth kicked off, nor could Monroe and Drummond up front. Bringing Jennings and Smith back in didn't help much either, as by then the Grizzlies had pulled away on a strong offensive effort in the paint from Ed Davis, who scored 13 in the quarter.
From there on, it was garbage time. Interestingly, Leuer saw his first minutes of the second half after the Grizzlies had pulled away. He ended up matching his career-high of 23 points with a late three-pointer, but it's curious that Dave Joerger went away from him after a great performance of the first half. Of course, Z-Bo and Koufos were more than getting the job done.
We did finally get Seth Curry's debut, as he checked in with 4:05 left. He didn't really do much of anything with the game well in the Grizzlies' hands, putting up nothing (not even a shot attempt) for the box score. It's disappointing for any player to put up zeros across the board in their debut, but there may be a little more playing time here and there for him now that Jamaal Franklin has been assigned to the D-League.
It was a good game overall from the Grizzlies, eventually settling in on defense and seeing a balanced effort from their entire roster. Davis and Leuer' scoring numbers were a bit inflated by garbage time (they led the team in scoring, but recorded 12 and 7 points respectively in the fourth), but they were very good nonetheless. The Grizzlies' jumpshots were falling tonight as they went 8-for-15 from three. Conley, Bayless and Leuer all contributed from three, and Prince proved extremely reliable from midrange, even in situations where he had to create his own shot. Zach Randolph had to work for it against Detroit's bigs, but he finished with a 16-and-16 double-double that reflects his effort level damn well.
With a good blowout win to end their three-game road trip, the Grizzlies will next begin a four-game home stand on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs.