Pistons 80, Grizzlies 78
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Last week, the Detroit Pistons thought they were robbed by a last-second call in Minnesota.
They got a call of their own on Saturday night.
“It’s about time,” Billups said. “I was definitely thinking about Minnesota. It wasn’t much contact—they thought I was going to shoot a fadeaway and I jumped into them.”
Billups’ baseline jumper was blocked by Pau Gasol, but Earl Watson was whistled for hitting Billups on the wrist. After he made his free throws, Gasol’s long pass bounced off the hands of Shane Battier as time expired.
“This is a really frustrating way to lose,” Watson said. “I know I didn’t hit him, but it is a judgment call and he blew the whistle. Hopefully, we will get some calls like that down the road.”
The Pistons led 78-67 before Gasol scored seven points in an 11-0 run, finishing it with a three-point play that tied the game with 53 seconds to go.
“We started taking some bad shots instead of going to the basket like we should have,” Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince said. “They got aggressive and got to the line and we let them back into the game.”
Billups then missed a jumper, but Bonzi Wells shot an airball with 6 seconds left, giving Billups another chance.
Memphis coach Hubie Brown wasn’t happy with either of the final two calls.
“First all, the replay showed there was no foul—Earl Watson went straight up and Pau came over the top,” he said. “It wasn’t close—not even close. And go back to our possession—Bonzi gets hit on the wrist and the ball and they end up with the ball out of bounds. They got a call and we didn’t, and unfortunately, the video proved us right both times.”
“We hung on and won,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “I just wanted us to go out and execute a bit at the end, but it got out of hand.”
The Grizzlies played without Mike Miller, who missed his second consecutive game with back spasms. Memphis has dropped three in a row.
Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Wells scored 14, and Battier added 12 off the bench.
The Pistons trailed early, but used a 10-point run in the second quarter to take a 42-38 lead into halftime. Hamilton scored 14 points in the first half.
The Pistons started the second half with an 8-2 spurt to go ahead by 10, but Battier, a Detroit native, scored five straight points to get Memphis back into the game.
Detroit led 59-54 at the end of the quarter, then got six points from Corliss Williamson in an 8-2 run to go ahead 69-58 with 7:36 left. Williamsonfinished with 13 points in 16 minutes.
Miller’s status for Monday’s game against Golden State is unknown. … Larry Brown and Hubie Brown first faced each other in the ABA when Larry Brown was running the Carolina Cougars and Hubie Brown was in charge of the KentuckyColonels. … Detroit went 13-3 in January.