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Dwane Casey: 'I have to do a better job motivating' The Detroit News

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Memphis, Tenn. — After a nice overtime win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon, the Pistons found themselves in a tough position on Monday.

They were on the second night of a home-road back-to-back, against a tough Memphis Grizzlies squad that throttled them on Jan. 24.

With a shorthanded lineup, the task got a bit tougher.

The Pistons stayed close in the first half but a poor shooting performance dug a hole that they couldn’t recover from, as the Grizzles surged for a 96-82 win on Monday night at FedExForum.

Andre Drummond had 25 points, 18 rebounds and four assists, Langston Galloway 17 points and Christian Wood 17 points and five rebounds for the Pistons (18-34), who have Tuesday off before playing three games in the following four days.  

The Pistons have won just once in their last seven games, and ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, coach Dwane Casey is trying to put the losing in perspective.

BOX SCORE: Grizzlies 96, Pistons 82

“It’s a painful experience for me; I’m not used to this and it’s been a long time since I’ve gone through this. Hopefully, it hurts them, and it’s not let’s go to the next game and see what happens,” Casey said. “You don’t want to build bad habits. If you’re not careful, that stays in your locker room for four or five years. That’s what I’m trying to prevent — that staying in the locker room.”

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Wood had 17 points and five rebounds against the Grizzlies, who swept the season series. The Detroit News

The Pistons surged in the second quarter with an 11-0 run, with seven points from Galloway and four points from Wood, taking a 43-36 lead at the 8:58 mark. The Grizzlies (24-25) answered with 10-0 spurt, with four points each from Jonas Valanciunas (26 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks) and Tyus Jones (13 points and five assists) and a basket from Dillon Brooks, who had 15 points.

From a 53-53 tie at halftime, the Grizzlies jetted ahead, with a 9-0 spurt, with five points from Brooks and a dunk by Valanciunas. The Pistons trailed, 72-63, heading into the fourth quarter and the big men, along with Jaren Jackson Jr. (14 points, five rebounds and three blocks) helped keep the Pistons at bay.

The Pistons shot 3-of-25 from the field in the third quarter but the Grizzlies only managed a 19-10 advantage in the quarter. They were able to pull away in the fourth quarter, with a 24-19 margin.

“Ugly. Ugly is the best word I can use. It was just the opposite of the way we moved the ball (Sunday),” Casey said. “I said before the game: we’re a 50-50 team — 50% of the time, we do the right thing and it looks beautiful. 50% of the time, we don’t.”

Observations

►The Pistons were severely short-handed after Svi Mykhailiuk was added to the injury report Monday afternoon and Marcus Morris was ruled out — both with hip issues. Derrick Rose was out because of a left adductor strain, leaving the Pistons with a rotation of eight players, along with Tim Frazier and two-way players Jordan Bone and Louis King, who made the trip to Memphis as additional options.

►With the shorter rotation, Drummond played with Christian Wood, which made for a bigger front court but also made for odd combinations, with Thon Maker and Sekou Doumbouya and no other options at the power positions. There were some shuffles of those four, but not having Griffin and Morris makes it more difficult.

►The Pistons did a better job defensively on the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr., who had 29 points in the first meeting, but Memphis took advantage of the absences in the middle, with Jonas Valanciunas more effective inside and Tyus Jones getting loose for some nice baskets.

►Reggie Jackson and Sekou Doumbouya had tough offensive games, in which they seemingly couldn’t buy baskets. Doumbouya was 2-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-5 on 3-pointers and Jackson went 1-of-16 from the field, with several of the floaters that he’s been known for making easily not falling.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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