NBA team's senior advisor discusses offseason moves, which include signing Glenn Robinson and Jose Calderon Rod Beard
Las Vegas — The second game was better than the first, but the result was still the same.
The Pistons fell again in the Las Vegas Summer League after a 73-70 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night at Cox Pavilion.
Henry Ellenson had 15 points, Larry Drew II and rookie Khyri Thomas 13 each and rookie Bruce Brown Jr. added 12 for the Pistons (0-2).
After a 27-point drubbing against the Bucks on Friday night, the Pistons turned things around in the fourth quarter, after a 57-52 deficit entering the period.
Ellenson and Drew hit back-to-back 3-pointers to trim the Grizzlies’ lead to 66-64 with 5:22 left, but Memphis answered with consecutive baskets by Jevon Carter and Wayne Selden (20 points). Thomas followed with a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half and Kobi Simmons scored on a spinning drive.
The Pistons climbed within 72-69, after a dunk by Eric Griffin, and Ellenson got a steal with 20.3 seconds left. Ellenson split a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game and the Pistons got the rebounds on the free-throw miss but couldn’t convert.
Spanish professional player talks about returning to Detroit as a free agent after playing in Toronto. Rod Beard
In the final 15 seconds, the Pistons had a chance to tie or take the lead but Drew stepped out of bounds and the Grizzlies got possession back. Memphis split a pair of free throws on the other end, but the Pistons didn’t get a potential tying 3-pointer to go.
Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State) scored the first seven points of the game for the Grizzlies (1-0) and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Here are some other observations from the second Summer League matchup:
■ Ellenson continued to struggle with his shot, going 5-of-21 from the field (1-of-10 on 3-pointers) after a 4-of-17 (1-of-9 beyond the arc) performance in Friday’s loss. As the focal point of the offense, Ellenson is getting more attention from the defense — in addition to his difficult matchup against Jackson.
Summer League coach Sean Sweeney said the message to Ellenson is to make the read and then react.
“Just keep it simple: if you’re open, let it go. If you don’t like it, drive it and move it to the next guy,” Sweeney said. “They were pressuring the guards a lot and in the first half, the ball was in his hands and he was basically playing point guard.”
■ Brown looked more aggressive than in the opener, on both ends of the court. He slashed to the rim and took the ball at the Grizzlies’ big men and also went aggressively to try to contest shots and get blocks on defense. He finished 3-of-10 from the field and had seven rebounds, showing some ability to be effective in the paint.
“I’ve done that my whole career; I love physicality,” Brown said. “I played football most of my life. I love being down there with the bigs.”
■ The Pistons again struggled from the field, shooting 36 percent (25-of-69) but improved on their 3-point shooting (31 percent). The new offensive scheme is predicated on going for the next shot if the initial look isn’t there and they did a better job of making reads and driving accordingly than in Friday’s game.
■ The Pistons had some special guests at Summer League, as Andre Drummond and free-agent additions Glenn Robinson III and Jose Calderon made an appearance at Cox Pavilion. All three sat courtside and signed autographs for fans throughout the game.