Pistons beat Grizzlies 100-93 and cling to playoff hopes
DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Pistons(cheap Detroit Pistons championship rings) are still clinging to the final spot in the Eastern Conference play offs thanks to their biggest second-half comeback in three decades. Andre Drummond had 20 points and 17 rebounds and Ish Smith matched a season high with 22 points, helping Detroit rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-93 Tuesday night. The Pistons can clinch a postseason bid by closing the regular season with a win at New York, or if Charlotte loses at home to Orlando, on Wednesday night.
''I'm just happy that we still control our own destiny,'' Detroit's Reggie Jackson said.
The Pistons(nba championship rings) put their postseason position in peril by losing four straight before rallying to beat the short-handed Grizzlies, who led by as many as 22 points. Detroit's comeback from a 19-point halftime deficit was its largest since rallying from being down 23 points to beat Seattle on March 31, 1989. Pistons star Blake Griffin was limited to five points and two rebounds in 18-plus minutes, barely playing in the second half because of his injured left knee.
''I wasn't able to help us,'' Griffin said. ''We're going to take it day by day.''
Detroit's Luke Kennard scored 12 of his 15 points off the bench in the second half. Jackson had all 12 points of his points in the first half and went to the bench as Smith flourished in the final quarter.
''He was unstoppable,'' Jackson said.
Detroit opened the fourth with a 16-3 run to pull within three points. Smith made a game-tying 3-pointer and a go-ahead jumper midway through the quarter. Drummond made two free throws with 2:33 left to put the Pistons up 91-89. Smith made a jumper to give Detroit a five-point lead with 50 seconds left and a runner to put it ahead 97-93 with 28 seconds remaining. Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo each scored 15 points and Tyler Dorsey added 12 points for the Grizzlies, who used just four reserves. Banged-up players such as Mike Conley, Joakim Noah and rookie Jaren Jackson were out with injuries.
''I thought our guys scrapped and competed,'' coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. ''We showed a lot of heart, but you saw in the fourth quarter a Pistons team that was desperate and turned it up offensively and defensively.''
Even though Detroit had a lot to play for - its first playoff berth in three years and second in a decade - the Grizzlies played with more effort and led 32-20 after the first quarter and 57-38 at halftime.
''I think everything was free and easy in the first half,'' Memphis center Tyler Zeller said.
''I deserved to be booed and so did our guys,'' coach Dwane Casey said. ''I just hope none of our fans hurt their ankles jumping back on the bandwagon. I even saw some of our fans leaving the building, but I hope they saw the fire and competitive spirit we showed in the second half.''
An untimely whistle by an official led to a disjointed final sequence in regulation, and the Heat wound up losing 117-109 in overtime to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Miami had the ball in the frontcourt with the score tied 103-103 and 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Official Eric Lewis blew the whistle and the Heat players started running into position, but Dion Waiters hadn't yet been given the ball for the inbounds pass. Confused, the Heat ended up with a broken play at the buzzer. James Johnson missed a jump shot and Bam Adebayo grabbed the rebound and made a layup, but it came right after the buzzer and didn't count.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the explanation he received from the officials for the early whistle included ''nothing that was coherent or makes sense.'' ''You blow the whistle when you hand the ball to somebody when they're out of bounds, not before,'' Spoelstra said. ''That got us moving, into motion, before that. The it was just sideways from there. m''It's very disappointing that that play was allowed to continue,'' he said. ''From our vantage point, that was a botched play. You just set it again. That happens a million times during the course of an NBA(nba championship rings) season.''
Wade, who was supposed to receive the inbounds pass, ended up not touching the ball on Miami's final possession in the fourth quarter. ''All I know is by the time turned to get it back court, Dion still had the ball,'' Wade said. ''It definitely took us out of what we wanted to do.'' Miami lost its season-high fourth in a row. The Heat could have guaranteed a postseason berth by winning their final three games - they host Philadelphia on Tuesday and close the regular season at Brooklyn the following day. ''We'll need some help,'' Spoelstra said. ''The only thing we control is what we do. We've got to dust this one off, get back to Miami and win the next game.''
Miami was in position to be eliminated later Sunday if Orlando defeated Boston, Brooklyn beat Indiana, and Detroit beat Charlotte. ''Right now, I'm devastated by this loss,'' Wade said. Wade scored 21 points and Johnson had 18. Toronto's Danny Green opened the extra session with a 3, then added a layup to put the Raptors up by five, the biggest margin for either team since the start of the fourth quarter. Pascal Siakam had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points for Toronto. Norman Powell matched his season high with 23 points and Green scored seven of his 21 in overtime as the Raptors won their fourth straight over the Heat.
Powell, who shot 7 for 7, said he enjoyed the intensity of the matchup as Toronto prepares for the playoffs. ''These guys are giving us their best performances,'' he said, ''so it takes our game to the next level.''The crowd of 19,800 rose for a brief ovation when Wade checked in for the first time at 6:18 of the first. The 16-year veteran intends to retire at the end of the season(championship rings for sale). Wade scored five points in the opening quarter and Miami led 26-25 after one. The Heat were up 57-50 at halftime. Miami took a 79-78 lead into the fourth.
Curry, Durant each score 28 points, Warriors beat Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Kevin Durant had the best shooting night of his career to help the Golden State Warriors(custom Golden State Warriors championship rings) take the outright Western Conference lead. Durant and Stephen Curry each scored 28 points, with Durant going 12 of 13 from the field, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 118-103 on Wednesday night. Curry also had 10 rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins added 16 points and nine rebounds. The Warriors broke a tie with idle Denver for the top spot in the West.
''We're not looking at it. Obviously, it's something, coming down the stretch of the season, you want to know what the matchups are looking like,'' said Durant, who was unaware they regained first place. ''Each game is important from top to bottom. From the eighth seed to the top, so you are going to take a peek at it, but you are not really writing it on a white board or looking at it.'' Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Mike Conley added 22 points to take the franchise's career scoring lead and added eight assists. Bruno Caboclo had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Injuries to key Memphis(nba championship rings) players have shortened the rotation. Conley said the pace of the game finally caught up with the Grizzlies, contributing to fatigue in the fourth.
''They're a team that moves so well without the ball,'' Conley said about Golden State. ''They've got so many weapons and just push the tempo. Eventually, it gets into your legs a little bit.'' Memphis had recently made life tough on visiting playoff teams fighting for seeding in the West. This month, the Grizzlies recorded home wins over Portland, Utah Houston and Oklahoma City. At times, they were close to adding Golden State to the list until a bad fourth quarter. Memphis shot 24 percent in the final frame, making only two of 12 shots from 3-point range. Durant scored seven straight points in a 9-0 run that made it 100-92 midway through the fourth quarter, part of Golden State pulling away at the end, outscoring Memphis 29-19 in the fourth. ''He was picking and choosing his spots early on, facilitating,'' Warriors forward Draymond Green said about Durant. ''And then, when we needed him the most, he just took the game over offensively and got buckets for us. So, it was a great night for him, and we needed it. That was a tough game.''
Warriors: Golden State suspended center Jordan Bell for the game for conduct detrimental to the team. ... The Warriors have won five straight against the Grizzlies. ... Seven of their last nine games, including Wednesday, are against teams with sub-.500, including the Grizzlies a second time on April 10 - the last day of the regular season. .. Andrew Bogut entered late in the first half, playing in his 700th career game. ... Durant's previous best shooting night was converting 8 of 9 against Phoenix on Feb. 12, 2018.
Grizzlies: Conley's 3-pointer with 2:50 left in the second quarter moved him to first place on the franchise scoring list, passing former teammate Marc Gasol. Conley returned to the lineup after missing two of the previous three games, including Monday's win over Oklahoma City with left thigh soreness. ... Reserve C Joakim Noah missed his second straight game and third in the last four with right knee pain. ... Justin Holiday converted a last-second shot from 35 feet to close the first quarter. He also tied a franchise record for steals in a quarter with four in the first.
TESTY FIRST HALF
Golden State(championship rings for sale) led 66-60 after a spirited first half of good shooting, bickering between players and coaches, players and refs and players and a fan or two. Durant and Valanciunas had technicals in the half.
GREEN AT THE EDGE
Draymond Green got a technical in the second half. When asked if that changed his approach at all, he replied that he hasn't check how many techs he has drawn all season. Told it was 14, two short of a one-game suspension, he said: ''How many games we got left? Eight? We've got eight games left? I got one to play with.''