After suffering just one loss during all of February, the Detroit Pistons have already equaled that total in the first two days of March. They look to bounce back from a rare defeat when they visit the lowly Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
The Pistons (36-20) saw their four-game winning streak snapped on Friday, when they lost 85-82 to the Miami Heat. Detroit has won 11 of its last 13 since Jan. 31, with the team’s only loss in February coming to the San Antonio Spurs, 90-81 on Feb. 14.
Friday’s game was the first for the Pistons since a 95-93 home win over Chicago last Sunday, and they showed some rust from the lengthy layoff, falling behind 50-31 by halftime.
“We never had any energy at all in the first half,” said Tayshaun Prince, who scored 22 points to lead the Pistons but missed a pair of desperation 3-point attempts as time expired.
The loss at Miami kicked off a stretch where the Pistons will play seven of nine games away from Detroit. They are 17-10 on the road. No other team in the Eastern Conference has a road record better than five games below .500.
The Pistons defeated the Grizzlies (15-45) 95-86 on Nov. 4, their third straight win in the series and ninth in 11 meetings since the Grizzlies franchise moved from Vancouver for the 2001-02 season. Detroit is 5-1 all-time at Memphis, although all of those matchups have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
Memphis is taking on the Eastern Conference’s best team a day after losing to one of its worst. The Philadelphia 76ers handed the Grizzlies their third straight loss, 117-112 in overtime on Friday.
Mike Miller sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left, but the Grizzlies fell short after the Sixers went on a 6-2 run to start the extra period.
“I’m proud of the effort, but you have to do the little things to win in this league and tonight we didn’t do the little things,” Memphis coach Tony Barone said.
Pau Gasol scored 31 points to lead the Grizzlies. The center, whose name had been mentioned in trade rumors, has averaged 25.8 points in four games since the NBA trading deadline passed.
Despite Gasol’s efforts, though, Memphis has lost six of seven and owns the league’s worst record.
“We’re just not playing well,” said Miller, who had 27 points against the 76ers. “We’re finding ways to lose games instead of ways to win them and that’s disappointing. We have to keep plugging away and try to win games.”
Memphis plays its next three on the road following this contest, beginning the trip next Wednesday at Toronto.