O.J. Mayo said the Memphis Grizzlies didn’t seem like they were focused the last time they took the court. The Detroit Pistons were completely focused in their latest game – for 24 minutes.
The Pistons try to bounce back from an ugly second-half collapse Wednesday night when they meet Memphis, which looks to avoid a winless three-game road trip.
The Grizzlies (17-21) are 4-12 when they shoot 45.0 percent or worse, and they shot 43.0 percent in a 109-100 loss at Oklahoma City on Saturday.
That was an accurate effort compared to Monday at Charlotte, where Memphis shot 13 of 47 (27.7) from the field in the opening 24 minutes of a 96-82 loss.
Mayo, who missed eight of nine shots, said the Grizzlies “just didn’t seem like our minds were in the game,” but point guard Mike Conley was busy looking at the bigger picture.
“This is the time of year that we should be turning the corner in a positive direction,” Conley said. “We can’t be getting two- or three-game losing streaks. We need to get five- and six-game winning streaks. It eliminates the one or two games you lose and it gets us back on track.
“These next couple of games that are coming up are big for us.”
The same could be said of the Pistons (12-25), who for a half Monday in Chicago looked to be building on the momentum of Saturday’s 112-109 overtime win against Philadelphia.
Detroit shot 50.0 percent in the first half to build a 55-43 lead but responded with one of its worst halves of the season, shooting 27.5 percent in the final 24 minutes of a 95-82 loss.
The Pistons’ only worse half came at Chicago on Oct. 30, when they blew a 19-point halftime lead in a 101-91 defeat.
“We didn’t start well in the second half,” forward Tayshaun Prince said. “We had great looks, we just missed some shots. Once we missed some shots, it affects us on the defensive end. That was the case tonight.”
The Pistons are 9-10 when they’re ahead at halftime, with one of those blown leads coming Nov. 24 at Memphis. Detroit led 50-47 before Rudy Gay had 15 of his 17 points after the break in leading the Grizzlies to a 105-84 victory.
Memphis enjoyed its biggest edge in that matchup in the paint, outscoring the Pistons 68-34.
The Grizzlies lead the NBA with 48.8 points per game in the paint, but big efforts inside haven’t consistently translated into success. Memphis is 7-10 when it scores 50 or more points in the paint and 10-11 when it scores 49 or fewer.
With that said, the Grizzlies have been better when Zach Randolph is producing. They’re 10-6 when he scores 20 or more and 5-13 when he’s healthy and scores 19 or fewer.
Detroit is 6-2 when Richard Hamilton scores 16 points or more, but the three-time All-Star looks like he’s been distracted by recent rumors of his involvement in a potential Carmelo Anthony trade – whether he’ll admit it or not.
Hamilton is shooting 31.8 percent in his last five games and missed all five shots he took Monday.
“It’s part of the game. You just come out and try to play basketball,” Hamilton said of the rumors. “It’s out there. It’s nothing that I think about.”
The Grizzlies have won their last two trips to The Palace and taken three of four overall meetings after going 5-20 in the first 25.
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