Morant leads Grizzlies in late rally to defeat Detroit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half, Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points and 15 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied down the stretch for a 109-95 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Kyle Anderson added 16 for Memphis as the Grizzlies won their second straight.

Jerami Grant and Delon Wright led the Pistons with 16 points each, while Josh Jackson added 15. Rookie Saddiq Bey finished with 14 points for Detroit.

Grant, coming off a 43-point performance in Wednesday’s loss to Chicago, made only one of his eight shots in the first half and was 5 of 20 in the game, including 2 of 10 from outside the arc.

Morant’s scoring pulled Memphis away in the third when Detroit made a run. Then the Grizzlies shut down the Detroit offense in the fourth, keeping the Pistons from scoring a field goal over 6 minutes after Detroit pulled within 90-89 with 6:26 left.

Memphis benefitted from a poor-shooting first quarter by the Pistons and eventually built the lead to 21 points before settling in for a 53-42 lead at the half.

The Grizzlies were working inside with Valanciunas and controlling the paint with drives to the basket. Wright’s 4 of 5 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers, helped keep the Pistons hopes alive.

The optimism got higher as Detroit converted a quartet of 3-pointers to open the second half. But Memphis, led by Morant’s 13 points in the third helped the Grizzlies lead 84-73 heading to the fourth.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Shot only 29% in the first quarter, while scoring 17 points. …Entered the game first in NBA in bench scoring at 41.6, but managed only 29 against Memphis. …Grant has reached double-figure scoring in all but two games this season. … Have lost eight of the last 10 games in Memphis. … F Sekou Doumbouya played after missing the past three games under concussion protocol. …Are now 1-16 when trailing after three quarters.

Grizzlies: After having no fans for Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City because of inclement weather, a limited number of spectators were allowed to attend Friday’s game. …G/F Dillon Brooks sat out with right thigh soreness. G De’Anthony Melton returned after missing six games with left shoulder soreness. … G Desmond Bane returned after missing the previous four games because of the death of a relative. He scored 10 points. …Valanciunas recorded his 14th double-double of the season.

UP NEXT

Pistons: Travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Sunday.

Grizzlies: Close a four-game homestand facing Phoenix on Saturday.

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