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Pistons make tacky bearskin rug out of Grizzlies

Just like they did the first time these two teams met, the Grizzlies played the Pistons very tough on Friday. The lead kept going back and forth, back and forth, until Chauncey Billups simply took control of the game in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 points in a span of 97 seconds, and would have had an 11th point were it not for a rare free-throw miss.

Billups' pure efficiency is simply incredible: he scored 34 points on just 13 field goal attempts. How so? He nailed all five of his three-pointers and shot 11-of-13 from the line. He finished with only four assists but obviously made up for it by almost single-handedly winning the game. Rip Hamilton scored 19 with seven assists, but Rasheed Wallace was ice cold, shooting just 4-14 from the field, including 1-6 from beyond the arc. At least he made up for on the glass, grabbing 13 boards. The bench was pretty much useless, with no one making more than one shot. It was nice to see Darko Milicic get in the game to finish the second quarter, but all he did in 1:07 was commit a foul.

I was glad to see Detroit win the battle of the boards, and while the constant turnovers (16 in all) were annoying, it's probably to be expected against such a tough defensive team as the Grizzlies. (Man, I'm still not used to saying things like "such a tough defensive team as the Grizzlies." It still kind of freaks me out this franchise has been to the playoffs the past two years -- visions of the late 90s and early 00s are too fresh in my mind.)

All in all, I'm still scared of Pau Gasol, but not quite as much as before. He scored 31 with seven rebounds, but helped spark Detroit's late-game surge when he was whistled for a (phantom?) traveling call late in the fourth.

Pistons 95, Memphis 89 box score [ESPN]