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Griffin has 26 points, leads Pistons past Grizzlies 101-94

January 3, 2019
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Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin (23) goes up for a basket while guarded by Memphis Grizzlies Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — In the closing minutes of a four-game trip, the Detroit Pistons had enough energy to end the journey on a good note.

With a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, the Pistons built a double-digit lead and snapped their three-game losing streak with a 101-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Memphis has lost tree in a row and 10 of the last 13, leading to a lengthy postgame meeting in a closed locker room. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff took more than 30 minutes to emerge and address the media. Then, it was even longer before the locker room opened, by then occupied only by team leaders Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.

“A conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said about the session.

Blake Griffin led Detroit with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as six Pistons reached double-figures in scoring. Reggie Jackson had 16 points, while Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard added 13 each.

For the Pistons, the night was a relief from a stretch where they had lost five of their last six and were 3-12 over the previous 15. Not to mention, they were on the second night of a back-to-back after a loss in Milwaukee on Monday.

“When that win is within reach you know, you get a little extra boost,” Griffin said of playing down the stretch.

Griffin was the one who closed out the rally, scoring the final five points. Kennard started the stretch with a pair of 3-pointers.

“We got stops. We were able to push the ball, and we just got good shots as well,” Kennard said of the 13-0 rally. ”(Defense) allowed us to create that lead, and we just kind of stuck with it.”

The Pistons trailed 55-51 at the half, but holding Memphis to 12 points in the third quarter contributed to the Detroit comeback. Memphis was 3 of 17 in the frame and had four turnovers.

The Grizzlies chipped into the Pistons advantage, pulling within 83-82 near the midway point of the fourth. That’s when the Pistons clicked off the 13 straight points, ending the Memphis hopes.

Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Kyle Anderson scored 15 points. Dillon Brooks finished with 14 points off the bench for Memphis.

The lengthy postgame delay was the focus of the discussion on the Memphis side. Bickerstaff shared little during his comments.

“Again, the conversation that we had was a good conversation,” the Memphis coach said, “and it wasn’t just (team leaders Gasol and Conley). Guys are willing to address the issues and willing to fix them.”

TIP-INS

Pistons: C Zaza Pachulia missed his second straight game with a right lower leg contusion. F Stanley Johnson was questionable with a left thigh contusion and played almost six minutes. ... Kennard has four straight games of multiple 3-pointers. ... Jackson made a 3-pointer with 4:18 left in the third quarter, his fourth of the game and 500th of his career.

Grizzlies: Gasol has made a 3-pointer in 14 straight games, eclipsing the longest such streak of his career in December of 2017. ... Memphis (18-19) dropped below .500 for the first time since losing its season opener. .The 12 points in the third were a season-low for scoring in a third quarter. .Jaren Jackson Jr. recorded his second double-double of the season. ... Anderson has reached double figures in eight of the last nine.

INJURED CONLEY SCORELESS

Memphis point guard Mike Conley, the team’s leading scorer at 20.5 points a game, was held scoreless, missing all eight of his shots. Conley was hindered by a sore left shoulder suffered in the first quarter when he got tangled with Pistons center Andre Drummond on a rebound. “All my strength is good, it just got to where my mobility wasn’t there,” Conley said.

It marked the first time Conley was held scoreless since Dec. 8, 2015, against Oklahoma City when he played 22 minutes.

UP NEXT

Pistons: Host Utah on Saturday.

Grizzlies: Host Brooklyn on Friday.

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