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Grizzlies give coach his first win

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- For rookie NBA coach Dave Joerger to claim his first victory with the Memphis Grizzlies, he needed a fourth-quarter rally, overtime and longtime Detroit Piston Tayshaun Prince to come off the bench cold and hit a 3-pointer.

All of it was part of a 111-108 Grizzlies victory on Friday night at FedExForum as the Pistons' inability to beat Western Conference teams on the road continued.

"We definitely let this game get away," Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups said after Detroit dropped its 19th straight road game to a Western Conference team.

The last time the Pistons (1-1) had a road victory over a Western Conference opponent was March 14, 2012, at Sacramento.

"These are the kind of games that just sit on you," Billups said. "But it's very easy for me to say this won't be the same as the last four years. We're going to compete every night."

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies (1-1) own an eight-game winning streak over the Pistons, dating to Jan. 27, 2010.

Memphis point guard Mike Conley led all scorers with 22 points before fouling out. Forward Zach Randolph had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and center Marc Gasol had 15 points and eight boards with five assists.

"We got that bad taste out of our mouth from that first game in San Antonio," Gasol said, referring to the season-opening loss that made the Grizzlies 0-13 in season openers since moving from Vancouver.

Prince, who was traded to the Grizzlies last season, only scored eight points, but six of them came in the overtime and one was a wide-open 3-pointer that put Memphis up 102-97. Joerger had put Prince back in the game because Mike Miller had played 32 minutes and was winded.

"Coach said I just need you to go in there and get a couple of stops," said Prince, who won an NBA title with Detroit in 2004. "But then there was a possession I was wide open so I had to take that shot."

Joerger said, "Tayshaun hit a big shot."

The Pistons had the last possession in regulation with 8.2 seconds left. Billups missed a 3-pointer from the wing and the game went to overtime tied 95-95. With 2:49 left, Memphis trailed by seven. The Grizzlies tied the score in the final seconds as Gasol tipped in his own miss.

Detroit center Andre Drummond finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds and power forward Greg Monroe had 16 points and eight rebounds

"I think we were physical with them," Monroe said. "That is how we stayed in the game and made the run in the third quarter."

Joerger has the Grizzlies trying to play at a faster pace, and during the preseason there were many turnovers and a lot of questions about the team changing its style.

The Grizzlies had 20 turnovers against the Pistons,t but 16 came through the first three quarters and none in overtime. And big guys Gasol and Randolph got the touches they needed as they combined to shoot 11 of 20 from the field.

"We had a lot of possessions where we got the ball inside," Conley said. "And we still played pretty quick and our big guys were very involved."

Guard Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to score 19 points for Detroit and Josh Smith also had 19.

"That was a Western Conference Finals team last year and we were right there," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We had a chance to win."

NOTES: Grizzlies swingman Quincy Pondexter received a four-year contract extension, reportedly in excess of $14 million. Pondexter improved his stock by averaging 15.3 points in the Western Conference Finals. Pondexter went to the same high school in Fresno, Calif., as the Lopez twins -- Brook and Robin. "We never thought all three of us were going to make it in the NBA and be here for the long haul," Pondexter said. "I think we're going to have a great time at our 10-year class reunion. A lot of loans and autographs." ... First-year Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks had interest in adding Hollins to his staff, but it didn't work out. "He did a very, very good job here," Cheeks said of Hollins' run in Memphis. ... Detroit G Brandon Jennings (jaw/wisdom tooth) was not in uniform on Friday night. ... The Grizzlies set a franchise record with 32 home victories last season.
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