Jackson, Pistons look for more offense against Grizzlies
Prior to Detroit’s last game, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said it was too early to proclaim his team cured of its offensive concerns.
He was right.
After Memphis’ latest loss, Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger called out his team’s defense.
There’s no arguing his point.
Both could temporarily fix the other Wednesday night (7 p.m. pregame, 7:30 tipoff on FOX Sports Detroit) in Detroit as two 12-10 teams coming off losses by a combined 57 points meet seeking a little consistency.
The Pistons followed a 4-0 homestand with Monday’s 104-84 loss in Charlotte, shooting 36.8 percent after averaging 114.0 points and shooting 47.3 percent in the wins. Top scorer Reggie Jackson, named Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day, had a season-low four points on 2-of-9 shooting. The point guard averaged 27.0 points and shot 56.9 percent in the previous four.
In wins, Jackson is averaging 23.8 points and making 50.5 percent. In losses, he’s at 13.9 and 33.8. There’s more to it. His home splits are 23.0 and 48.5. On the road – 16.3 and 38.4.
Unsurprisingly, Detroit is 8-2 at home and 4-8 away with losses in eight of nine. The good news is it plays four of its next five at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but a team shooting 41.8 percent overall is going to struggle. The last team to finish with a winning record shooting under 42.0 percent was Boston in 2002-03.
"It’s embarrassing," Jackson said. "It’s frustrating as well, but it’s embarrassing. We talk about we want to be somewhere special, but we’ve got to grow up. You’ve got to be who you’re going to be in this league every day, night in and night out. It’ll put you in the best position to win games."
Memphis is also searching. It lost twice on a three-game homestand with the defeats coming by at least 20 points, and that’s a generous classification of Tuesday’s 125-88 loss to Oklahoma City.
"When you look at the numbers, it’s pretty simple," said Joerger, whose team has allowed 50.0 percent shooting and 42.7 from 3-point range in the last three games. "You know one team made shots and the other team struggled to make shots. Our defensive intensity wasn’t where it (should have been)."
The Grizzlies also rely heavily on offense from their point guard. Mike Conley went 0 for 7 and was held scoreless for just the fifth time in his career when playing at least 10 minutes.
Memphis is 10-0 when he shoots better than 42 percent, 2-10 when he doesn’t and 0-7 when he goes without a 3-pointer. In wins, he averages 17.6 points and shoots 49.7 percent. In losses, 11.2 and 28.9.
But Conley alone wasn’t going to cause a 37-point swing. Teammate Courtney Lee chose to focus on a poor collective effort as the Grizzlies fell to 12 of 55 (21.8 percent) from long range in the last four games.
"First and foremost, we have to stop letting these games get out of hand. It’s embarrassing, especially to lose that way in front of our home crowd and whatnot," Lee said. "These are teams that we faced last year and took them down to the wire and we were getting wins and so now we just have to figure out within ourselves."
The teams split two games last season with the home team winning each, but Memphis has won 10 of 11. Jackson had 23 points and a career-high 20 assists in a 105-95 win in Detroit on March 17.
Conley missed that game, but he played in the previous 10 wins, averaging 15.1 points on 54.6 percent shooting.