Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/1/12
MEMPHIS -- As befitting the team with the best record in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies are protecting their turf. Friday night against the Detroit Pistons, the Grizzlies improved their record at FedExForum to 8-1 with a 90-78 victory behind 18 points from Rudy Gay and 17 each from Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. For the Grizzlies, it represented their sixth straight win over Detroit and gave them 19 wins in their past 20 home games dating to last season. Memphis closed a season-long five-game home stand with a 4-1 record. "We've been playing pretty decent all year long at home," said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. "We won four out of five. We defended and we outscored the other teams. That's what it's about." The Grizzlies improved to 12-2 ahead of Saturday night's game at San Antonio. During Memphis' best start in franchise history, it has defeated the defending champion Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks at FedExForum. "We've played a lot of good teams in this home stand the last few weeks," Conley said. "For us to this win is huge for what we stand for --and that's just one game at a time and being ready for each individual opponent." On a night in which they struggled early, the Grizzlies relied on their defense. Memphis scored 31 points off 22 turnovers and held an opponent to fewer than 80 points for the second time in three games. The Pistons shot just 36 percent in the second half. "They are a very good defensive team, but I think a lot of our problems came from turnovers, unforced turnovers and unforced errors," said Pistons guard Brandon Knight. "We gave them a lot of easy baskets. It was just carelessness and just not valuing the basketball." The Pistons were led by Greg Monroe, who had 17 points and nine rebounds. Tayshaun Prince added 15 points. Ahead 53-45 at the half, the Grizzlies allowed the Pistons to tie the game at 57-all early in the third quarter. But the Grizzlies regained their composure, and the lead, behind Conley. He had a 3-point play and consecutive 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch as Memphis took a 66-60 lead. Four straight points by Gay upped the Grizzlies lead to 10, capping a 13-3 run. The Pistons got no closer than six points the remainder of the game. "At that point, they had made a couple of runs so we had to be aggressive and find ways to get the ball in the basket," said Gay, who has scored at least 14 points in each of the team's 14 games. "We were kind of stagnant. We were throwing the ball in the post and they were double-teaming those guys, so we had to find other ways to score." Memphis increased its lead to 13 on several occasions in the fourth quarter, the last time on a driving layup in traffic by Conley for an 87-74 lead with 3:26 left. Detroit outrebounded the Grizzlies 46-39 and was able to keep Memphis' double-double machine, Zach Randolph, to eight points and five rebounds. Randolph entered the game ranked second in the NBA with a 13.2 rebounding average, but was trying to play despite a calf injured he sustained in Wednesday's win over Toronto. "He got kicked in the calf the game before, plus they were just crushing down on him," Hollins said. "He couldn't get out there to rebound. Every time he got a hand on it, somebody was banging over the top to get it away from him. They were sending two and three guys to keep him off the glass." Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said the emphasis was to "take away their triggerman" in Randolph. "When you front the post, you can't allow high post action," Frank said. Behind 57 percent shooting in the second quarter, the Grizzlies took an eight-point halftime lead. Playing without starting guard Tony Allen, who missed the game with a groin injury, the Grizzlies struggled in the opening quarter. Missing 15 of their first 20 shots, the Grizzlies fell behind by 21-15, but battled back behind reserves Jerryd Bayless and Darrell Arthur to take a 22-21 lead at the end of the quarter. Bayless had four points in the final 1:27 and assisted Arthur on the other basket during the 7-0 run. NOTES: Neither Pistons coach Lawrence Frank or Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins would comment on NBA commissioner David Stern's ruling Friday to fine the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for their decision to send four players – Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green - home before the team's game against the Miami Heat Thursday. ... Memphis held an opponent to fewer than 100 points for the 13th straight game. ... Gasol recorded his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
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