AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons put together a solid stretch when they needed it the most Saturday night.
Rasheed Wallace added 15 points, Nazr Mohammed and Jason Maxiell finished with 13 apiece and Tayshaun Prince scored 12 for the Pistons (2-1), who had to put together a fourth-quarter surge to close out the victory.
“When it’s winning time—the last six, seven, eight minutes—all that (erratic play) is out the door,” said Chauncey Billups, who finished with 10 assists for Detroit. “It’s like everybody’s locked in and that’s the sign of a veteran team that’s been together.”
Wallace picked up his third technical foul of the season just seconds in the fourth quarter after being assessed his fourth personal foul of the game. Wallace was ejected during Wednesday’s season-opening loss to Milwaukee before criticizing the NBA’s zero-tolerance policy directed at cutting down on complaining to officials.
He criticized the policy again after the win over the win over the Grizzlies.
“I know they’re going to have to do something about this crazy zero tolerance law,” Wallace said. “That’s retarded. In my mind, it’s kind of like a slave and master or father and son. You’ve got your little son and (you say) don’t say nothing back to me—and to me, that’s totally wrong. It ain’t like that in any other sport.
“(Referees) don’t already like me and all this zero-tolerance law does is give (officials) who already have a beef with players to go out and toss them.”
After trailing by 11 in the third quarter, Memphis (1-2) tied it at 81 with 5:18 left on Rudy Gay’s 3-pointer. The Pistons responded with a 14-5 spurt led by Hamilton and Wallace.
Hamilton made two free throws to give Detroit the lead, Wallace got a dunk and Hamilton scored again to make it 87-81 with 3:20 remaining.
“I guess we have to credit Detroit’s defense,” Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. “They did a great job of challenging our shots. But at the same time, we were being aggressive, taking it to the basket.
“I was proud of the way the guys battled.”
The Pistons built their biggest lead with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter on a Billups free throw. Memphis, which trailed 46-40 at halftime, moved to within six late in the third before Maxiell’s jump shot beat the buzzer to extend the Detroit lead back to eight.
Both teams struggled to get into a rhythm in a game that featured 48 personal fouls. The Pistons had five players finish with at least four fouls, including Hamilton, who fouled out.
Wallace responded after picking up the technical, scoring 10 points and making a key block during a Memphis scoring surge.
“(Wallace) made plays late and we got the ball and played off him,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “He made plays and that’s what you’ve got to be able to do.”
Mike Miller scored 11 points and Gay added 10 for the Grizzlies. … Detroit outrebounded Memphis 40-36. … Memphis was held to 38 percent shooting, compared to 51 percent for Detroit.