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Quick Recap: Memphis now above .500 after holding off late rally from Pistons

A dribble-drive masterclass from Ja Morant propelled the Grizzlies to their second-straight win.

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies entered this outing against the Pistons with their sights set on eclipsing the .500 mark. Familiar faces in Josh Jackson and Delon Wright revisited FedExForum. Here’s a synopsis of what transpired:

First Quarter: Jonas Valanciunas led the charge for the Grizzlies in the opening minutes. He connected on three shots in the paint to accumulate six points by the seven-minute mark. Memphis as a whole converted seven of their first 11 field-goals and jumped out to a 15-7 edge. Additionally, Desmond Bane returned to the hardwood after missing the last four games due to his grandmother’s death. It was all Memphis to end the period, as nine Grizzlies put points on the board while Detroit couldn’t shake their ice-cold shooting. Ja Morant and Valanciunas each scored six apiece, and the Grizzlies held a sizable 35-17 lead at the end of one.

Second Quarter: The Pistons began the second quarter with a pep in their step. After the Grizzlies extended their lead to 20, Detroit went on a 17-4 run spearheaded by former Grizzly Delon Wright, who put up eight points and dished out an assist to trim the Memphis advantage to 8 by the halfway point. But as soon as it appeared momentum was swinging Detroit’s way, the Grizzlies responded with a spurt of their own, 7-0 to be precise, and found themselves up 15 with two minutes and change remaining in the first half. Memphis allowed their lead to slip slightly in the final moments but still were comfortably ahead on the scoreboard, 53-43.

Third Quarter: Rookie Sadiq Bey can shoot the lights out. He nailed back-to-back triples within two minutes of the quarter’s commencement, and just like that, Memphis’ lead was a mere three points. Carelessness then plagued the Pistons. Several turnovers and defensive lapses resulted in the Grizzlies gaining some breathing room — Detroit took a timeout at the 6:32 mark, with Memphis leading by nine. The remainder of the third consisted of a back-and-forth scoring duel between Ja Morant and Jerami Grant. Morant (21 points) led all scorers with 36 minutes in the books, while Grant was right behind him with 15. Memphis remained on top by a score of 74-63.

Fourth Quarter: The Pistons had a run left in them. Thanks to scoring punches from Wright, Sekou Doumbouya, and Josh Jackson, Memphis once again saw their advantage shrunk to one with approximately six minutes remaining. But, as was the story of this game, whenever the Pistons strung together successful sequences, the Grizzlies retaliated. Morant’s dribble-penetration and Kyle Anderson’s newfound perimeter expertise guided the Grizzlies to a 99-90 advantage with just over three minutes to go in this one. Memphis never looked back from this point on and earned their third victory in a row over the Pistons, 109-95.

The Grizzlies are in for a steep challenge on Saturday as they will take on the scorching Phoenix Suns led by Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Ayton. Tune in at 8 pm CT.

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