Delon Wright injured during Detroit Pistons’ road loss to Memphis Grizzlies

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II | Detroit Free Press

Basketball is a game of runs, as the saying goes. And for the second straight game, the Detroit Pistons were on the wrong side of one.

The Pistons (8-21) lost Friday to the Memphis Grizzlies on the road, 109-95. After losing a 25-point lead to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Detroit trailed by 21 early in the second quarter on Friday. The Pistons reduced the deficit to three midway through the third and fourth quarters, but were unable to pull ahead.

Six players reached double-figures for the Pistons. Jerami Grant and Delon Wright, who left the fourth quarter with a groin injury, each scored 16. Josh Jackson scored 15 off of the bench, and Mason Plumlee added a double-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 29 points.

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Delon Wright injury casts shadow on another strong game

The Pistons have enjoyed strong offensive performances from several of their key players these last couple of weeks. Saddiq Bey is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Jerami Grant scored a career-high 43 points on Friday, including 19 in the fourth. Josh Jackson has been attacking the rim with impunity off of the bench.

Perhaps no player has been as consistent as Delon Wright in that span, though. Going into Friday’s game, he averaged 16.8 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 59% overall and 46.2% from 3-point range since Feb. 6.

Friday was more of the usual for Wright. He got off to a hot start, making all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers, in the opening quarter en-route to a 16-point night. Wright made six of his seven attempts. He’s playing his best basketball of the season and has given the Pistons stability at the starting point guard position.

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In the fourth quarter, Wright winced after knocking down his fourth triple of the night. The team soon announced he suffered a right groin strain and would not return for the game. It was a noncontact injury, and it was unclear exactly when he tweaked it.

Detroit’s already thin at point guard, with Killian Hayes still weeks away from being re-evaluated with a torn labrum in his right hip. Dennis Smith, who did not score but added five assists, four rebounds, three steals and three blocks on Friday, could see his role increase. Two-way guards Saben Lee and Frank Jackson, neither of whom played vs. the Grizzlies, could also receive more playing time if Wright were to miss any games.

Saddiq Bey shows he can put up points in a hurry

The first half was fairly quiet for Bey, as he made just one of his eight shot attempts. After a hot shooting week, it appears Bey has cooled down a little. But on Friday, he showed that defenses can’t forget about him.

Bey filled up the scoresheet in a hurry coming out of halftime, hitting three 3-pointers in the opening 3 minutes and 10 seconds of the third quarter to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to three. He’s often been the Pistons’ most deadly shooter this season, and he can get his shot going in a hurry — giving the offense a dynamic element it’s often lacked this season.

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With Blake Griffin away from the team, the starting small forward job is his to lose. He hasn’t quite been as automatic from outside as he was last week, when he made close to 70% of his attempts en route to earning conference honors. But his outside shot has been the most consistent element of his game, and it’s fun to watch defenses scramble when he’s knocking them down.

Sekou Doumbouya returns and makes some plays

Doumbouya could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Griffin’s absence from the rotation, being a natural power forward stuck behind two established veterans (Griffin and Grant). He missed the last three games with a concussion, but returned Friday and made some nice plays in the fourth quarter.

He played six minutes in the final period and made two of his three shot attempts — a tough drive and finish at the rim, and a 3-pointer. It may not be much, but it’ll help Doumbouya’s case as he looks to carve out a bigger role in the rotation. He isn’t a reliable scorer at this stage in his development, but he’s shown enough flashes to inspire some confidence that he can build on a rough start to his sophomore season.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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