In their penultimate game of the 2016-17 season, the Western Conference’s seventh-seeded Memphis Grizzlies (43-38) fell at home 103-90 to the Detroit Pistons (37-43), a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention. The momentum of the game permanently shifted to coach Stan Van Gundy’s motley Motown crew in the third quarter, when Detroit outscored Memphis by a whopping 27-10 (Mike Conley chipped in 8 of those 10 points singlehandedly). Memphis made no three-pointers in the third quarter, and tied a season-high with nine turnovers in the quarter.
Memphis had been leading 58-48 at the half, but a rash of turnovers and a hot shooting streak from Reggie Bullock helped eradicate that margin. Bullock was 4-of-7 on the night from beyond the arc. This was just the second game he had scored double figures in all season to date.
This was the 21st game all season that Detroit, the 28th best three-point-shooting team in the NBA by percentage, had made ten triples or more, according to the Grizzlies’ video broadcast research (Detroit wound up making 14 to Memphis’s 9). Because Memphis is now locked in to the seventh seed in the playoffs and yet another playoff match-up against the San Antonio Spurs (their fourth playoff bout during the Core Four era; they are 1-2 thus far), head coach David Fizdale employed an all-hands-on-deck roster approach. All 13 healthy Grizzlies (Zach Randolph sat) notched at least 8 minutes of floor time. Memphis scored a season-low 33 second half points.
Mike Conley: C+
Team leader and zero-time All-Star Conley had an especially awkward turnover on a misread pass to three-time All-Star compadre Marc Gasol, in the midst of Detroit’s epic tear.
Conley had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in just 23 minutes (he was also 1-of-2 from three-point range), and filled out an underwhelming stat line (for him) to the tune of 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and 1 steal.
Marc Gasol: C
Big Spain had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 5 assists in a limited 24 minutes, but he logged just 2 rebounds. His defensive charges, centers Andre Drummond and Boban Marjanovic, pulled down 11 and 10 boards, respectively. Gasol had 3 turnovers by himself, partly the victim of a KYP (Know Your Personnel) problem, in this viewer’s estimation: one was a botched backdoor cut dish attempt to Wade Baldwin in the aforementioned, turnover-heavy third quarter. Baldwin, who has been in and out of the D-League this season, is still learning the communicative language of his NBA-level teammates.
Vince Carter: C+
In 22 minutes, future Hall of Famer Vinsanity scored just 6 points on a scant four attempts from the field. Both of his made buckets were triples; he was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. He pulled down 1 board and committed 2 turnovers. Again, this is a 40-year-old man, and he’s been asked to start because a contract albatross is hurt once again. We’re grading him on a curve.
JaMychal Green: B-
Green scored 12 points (5-of-7), grabbed 7 rebounds, distributed 2 assists, and coughed up 5 turnovers in 24 minutes of game action. If he was this efficient all the time I'd like him way more.
Tony Allen: C
Across 20 minutes of game action, the Grindfather scored 5 points (2-of-5 shooting from the field), pulled down 4 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and hustled his way to 2 steals.
Chandler Parsons: F
$94 million for this man.
James Ennis, Troy Daniels, Jarell Martin, and Wade Baldwin IV spearheaded a bit of a comeback attempt at the top of the fourth quarter, as Fizdale elected to sit all of his starters for the game’s final 12 minutes. Despite a cool Ennis dunk off a Baldwin pass, the Grizzlies never actually eliminated Detroit’s lead. And the Detroit Pistons ain't exactly the San Antonio Spurs.
Wednesday, the Fizz Grizz will close out their season playing host to the Dallas Mavericks, another lottery-bound franchise. They better win.
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