Detroit — In the first meeting between the Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies, the game got out of hand in the second half, and the Grizzlies pulled away for a 30-point win.
The second matchup of the season looked like it would follow the same script, after a 41-19 margin in the first quarter. The Pistons made it close in the third quarter before the Grizzlies pulled everything together and ran away with a 132-107 victory on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena, sweeping the season series.
It’s the 10th loss in the last 11 games for the Pistons, who were without Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson, who were traded to the Sacramento Kings for Marvin Bagley III in a four-team deal earlier Thursday.
Bagley could make his Pistons debut in the next few days, possibly in Friday’s home matchup against the Charlotte Hornets or on Monday at the Washington Wizards.
The Pistons (12-43) could have used Bagley’s presence in the middle on Thursday, as starting center Isaiah Stewart was in foul trouble for most of the game and they were outmuscled on the boards, 60-40.
Jerami Grant, who had been mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Hamidou Diallo added 17 points and 10 rebounds, for his second double-double in the last four games.
“I was really proud of the way Jerami played tonight. I thought he played the right way. The first unit I thought played the right way,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I was afraid that he was going to have the hangover — and he did not. I thought he moved the ball, took what the defense gave him, and he competed on the defensive end.
“I was really, really happy for Jerami because I’ve seen that happen over the years, with guys named in the trade rumors that come out. Whether it’s exhaling because they didn’t get traded or they wanted to get traded, it’s one of the two. I thought he came out and really, really played the right way.”
The Grizzlies (39-18) built a 25-point lead with 1:51 left in the first half, but the Pistons had a 10-0 run to finish the second quarter. Luka Garza (seven points) scored, then Diallo had a three-point play and a 3-pointer before Garza finished with a putback with 17.6 seconds left, trimming the lead to 65-50 at halftime.
The Pistons opened the third quarter with a 10-5 run, with a dunk a 3-pointer from Bey, along with a dunk by Grant. Diallo followed with one of two free throws and a highlight-reel dunk, and the Grizzlies’ lead was down to 10 at the 8:45 mark.
Ja Morant (23 points, four rebounds and six assists) had Memphis’ only point during the run, with a 3-pointer and a lay-in, and Jaren Jackson Jr. (12 points and six assists) added a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 13.
The Pistons stayed close, but a pair of 3-pointers by De’Anthony Melton (14 points) and a three-point play by Steven Adams (17 points and 14 rebounds) helped the Grizzlies push the lead back to 16 at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter, Memphis led, 95-80, but they started on a 9-2 spurt to help put the game out of reach.
“(The concern level) is very high, especially the energy approach. I don’t know if it’s the trade deadline approach or the hangover,” Casey said. “Whatever it is, we’ve got that look. We did have some areas and I thought we competed at a high level, and we put ourselves in a position to get the game close.”