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Published: Saturday, 1/21/2012

Second-half rally just not enough for Pistons

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Memphis Grizzlies' Marreese Speights, left, and Quincy Pondexter, right, box in Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday. Memphis Grizzlies' Marreese Speights, left, and Quincy Pondexter, right, box in Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday.
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Rudy Gay scored 24 points and the Memphis Grizzlies held off a second-half rally by Detroit to beat the Pistons 98-81 on Friday night.

The Grizzlies, who have won five straight, led by 23 in the third quarter before the Pistons fought back. Detroit cut the deficit to six in the fourth, but Memphis pulled away after that.

Rookie guard Brandon Knight scored 22 points for Detroit, which has lost 10 of 11.

Marc Gasol had 17 points for Memphis, and Mike Conley added 14 points and 11 assists.

Tayshaun Prince scored 14 for the Pistons, and Greg Monroe had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Pistons were without guards Rodney Stuckey (groin) and Will Bynum (right foot), as well as forward Charlie Villanueva (right ankle). They signed guard Walker Russell, Jr., from the NBA Development League, and he made his NBA debut, scoring three points in just over 20 minutes of action.

The Grizzlies have injury problems of their own, but they've been able to overcome them so far. Zach Randolph is out with a torn MCL, but Memphis is 7-3 since he's been sidelined.

Memphis hadn't trailed in either of its previous two games, and the Grizzlies were behind only briefly at the start. Detroit was ahead 5-2 when Memphis went on a 15-2 run and appeared ready to put the game away early. It was 22-12 after the first quarter and 49-30 at halftime.

The Pistons looked headed for another desultory loss, but they made a game of it by scoring more points in the third quarter (35) than they did in the first half. Knight led a 13-0 run in the middle of the third, hurting Memphis with his ability to drive to the basket.

Knight started the fourth quarter with a driving bank shot to make it 73-67. The Pistons trailed by seven at 79-72 after Knight made two free throws, but O.J. Mayo was left open on the left wing, and his 3-pointer started a 16-2 run by Memphis. Gay's 3-pointer made it 95-74.

The Grizzlies shot 57 percent for the game.



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