Don't let the final score fool you, the Memphis Grizzlies' visit to the Palace was much worse than a 105-91 loss for the Pistons. In what was the first game back from the All-Star break, and the first post-trade homecoming of Tayshaun Prince (and Austin Daye), the Pistons had every reason to play with the energy and motivation needed.
The Pistons came out hot, but finished the last three quarters as if the All-Star break had been extended. Every NBA team is prone to a blowout every once and a while, but there's a few numbers within the box score that make Tuesday's loss a little more troubling.
When a team wins by 14 points and is up by as many as 30 points, one assumption is that the three-ball was working for the winning side. Not really. Memphis only made three long-balls on nine attempts. The point discrepancy came closer to the rim. Memphis outscored the Pistons 62-46 in the paint, and had 50 points in the lane before the Pistons even reached the 30-point mark.
The Grizzlies controlled the glass. Doubling up the Pistons on the offensive glass 12-6, the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph had five of his 10 rebounds come on the offensive end. The offensive rebounding lead to more at-the-rim makes for Memphis, helping the Grizzlies shoot nearly 60% as a team on the night.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Harping that word will bring out the coach in all of us, and Tuesday was the perfect time to use that triplet chant. The Pistons had 16 turnovers on the game. Even worse, Lawrence Frank's three-guard starting line of Calderon, Knight and Singler was responsible for eight of those 16. (Calderon with 3, Knight with 2 and Singler with 3)
14 of the 16 turnovers were Memphis Grizzlies steals. It's not like the Pistons were having trouble connecting while attempting to set one another up. The Pistons couldn't even start the offense. Memphis' guards put too much pressure on the Pistons ball handlers, and in many possessions the offensive movement wasn't even allowed to develop. The 14 steals were crippling.
Wait there's more…
After outscoring the Grizzlies 30-22 in the first quarter, the Pistons were outscored 62-30 in the middle quarters. The Pistons fell victim to the NBA's second-best team in "points allowed," managing to score only 12 points in the second quarter before coming out of halftime for an 18-point third quarter. At times the game was unwatchable.
Tayshaun Prince scored only four points in his return to the Palace. Prince received a standing ovation when the starting lineups were announced, and the Pistons prepared a video tribute to the long-time, now one-time, Piston during a first quarter timeout.
Austin Daye scored six points in 14 minutes off the bench. Getting most of his minutes with the game well out of hand, a testy moment came in the fourth quarter when Daye knocked down a baseline jumper in front of the Pistons bench. After making the shot Daye spun around and barked at both Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe. Knight covered his face with a towel in assumed laughter, while Monroe appeared to be smiling through his moose teeth. It was an interesting display from the former Piston forward, especially due to the on/off relationship Daye had with playing time during his career with the Pistons.
The Pistons will take the court again tonight, Wednesday, against the Charlotte Bobcats on the road. The Pistons are now 21-34 on the season.