Not a bad way to bring in the new era.
Once Detroit grabbed the lead with a 1:11 left in the first quarter, they never relinquished it, as they outscored the Grizzlies in each quarter en route to a 22-point win. This was a 43-point turnaround from when the Pistons lost to the Grizzlies eleven days ago (in the preseason) by 21 points.
As we're going to see more times than not this season, Detroit's guards carried the majority of the offensive load. Richard Hamilton led all Pistons scorers with 25 points (10-19 shooting) and Ben Gordon scored 22 points off the bench (7-12 from the field and 4-7 from three point land). The four guards also combined for 15 assists to just four turnovers.
Now, before we get all high and mighty after tonight's win, let's just remember who the Pistons played. Memphis is not exactly a powerhouse and Detroit's glaring flaws were still exposed. Memphis' starting big men outscored Detroit's 51-24 -- although the contrast in guard totals was more than enough to make up for it -- and Detroit was outrebounded 49-39, despite having plenty more opportunities to grab them considering they shot 51% and Memphis shot 36%.
I won't rain on the first game win parade anymore, though. Detroit did what we'd expect them to do against a team of Memphis' caliber -- win and win big.
The fresh look Detroit squad is now 1-0, which isn't really that big of a deal, but hey, Cleveland is 0-2.
Some random thoughts/notes on the game after the jump.
- Richard Hamilton came down awkwardly late in the fourth quarter and went to the locker room after splitting a pair of free throws. You hate to see that happen to one of the best players on the team at any time, but especially when it happened late in the fourth with a 20+ point lead. Hopefully, it's nothing serious and he can play on Friday against the Thunder.
- Another strong performance from Ben Wallace. It doesn't really show in the box score, again, but he was causing all sorts of problems out there for Memphis. He grabbed nine rebounds in 28 minutes.
- Charlie Villanueva struggled tonight, but I wouldn't be too concerned. He got into early foul trouble and whenever that's the case, it's hard for a guy to bounce back and get in a good rhythm. He finished with seven points and blocked three shots.
- Tayshaun Prince had 14 points and five rebounds in a little under 32 minutes. That's right around his career numbers. He's also played in 451 consecutive games. Steady.
- Kwame Brown looked good in limited action. He only had four rebounds and four points, but I was thoroughly impressed with both his buckets (power dribble down low, slam and then a Loy Vaught-like base line jumper)
- Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye served their one game suspensions for fighting. DaJuan Summers did not play (coach's decision) and was in street clothes.
- Mad Max played just under 20 minutes, pulled down six rebounds, and ate a couple babies.
- A whole lot of whining out of the Memphis broadcast crew. 27 whistles against Detroit and 26 against Memphis. Memphis shot two more free throws, too. I saw nothing wrong with the officiating tonight. They bothered me.
- Detroit has their home opener on Friday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tip off is at 8 PM EST.
- 1st Half highlights. I'll post full game highlights when they become available: Game Highlights: