After a display of near-flawless basketball on Wednesday night against Phoenix, many were wondering if this young Pistons team would be able to carry-over their game plan on the road in Memphis on Friday night. The Grizzlies, arguably the league's best team right now, have made their living on defense. Allowing a league-best 90.1 points per game, a look at Friday night's stat sheet and the Pistons 22 team turnovers would tell the story of a vaunted Memphis defense that was just too much for a young Pistons team. But the real cause for the Pistons turnover-happy play, leading to 31 Memphis points, was the Pistons themselves. The Pistons battled hard and were close at times, even tying the game in the third quarter, but ultimately the turnovers were too heavy of a burden to shake off as the Pistons lost to the Grizzlies 78-90.
For the sake of comparison and proof of a close game, let's go to the stat sheet. The Pistons trailed the Grizzlies 40-48 with points in the paint; a close battle there. They out rebounded the Grizzlies, a problem area for the Pistons at times, 46-39. Neither team was extremely hot or cold, as both teams shot a little better than 40% from the field (Pistons shot 40.3, Grizzlies shot 40.0). But at the end of the game the only stat that counts are points scored, and the Pistons 22 turnovers prevented the offense from scoring enough of them against Memphis to win the game.
"Crippling" was one of the first words out of Lawrence Frank's mouth when asked about the turnovers after the game. Losing their ability to spread the floor, bunching up on the ball side of an offensive set, half-hearted passing and uncharacteristic decision making saw the Pistons throwing the ball right into the lap of the fast-pushing Memphis attack lead by Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. Many times the turnovers came before the Pistons were even able to get off a shot. Too many empty possessions and poor transition defense from the Pistons made it easy on the Grizzlies.
"We battled, we competed," Lawrence Frank said when talking about the game. "(We) did a good job in the second half, but we shot ourselves in the foot…If we were a little sharper with the ball, we would've given ourselves a better chance."
Without a doubt, the Pistons understand that their loss to Memphis was more self-imposed than anything else. Playing in Dallas on Saturday night, the Pistons will have a chance to get right back on the court with quick shot at redemption. They'll need to take better care of the ball, and get back to their assist-heavy basketball (the Pistons only had 15 assists against Memphis), but the Pistons should have a good shot at victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. The Pistons play the Mavericks in Dallas at 9:00 pm on Saturday night.
Tags: Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, NBA
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