Detroit Pistons pull off big comeback against Memphis to keep control of NBA playoff fate
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — The Detroit Pistons are still clinging to the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs thanks to their biggest second-half comeback in three decades.
Andre Drummond had 20 points and 17 rebounds and Ish Smith matched a season high with 22 points, helping Detroit rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-93 Tuesday night.
The Pistons can clinch a postseason bid by closing the regular season with a win at New York, or if Charlotte loses at home to Orlando, tonight.
“I’m just happy that we still control our own destiny,” Detroit’s Reggie Jackson said.
The Pistons put their postseason position in peril by losing four straight before rallying to beat the short-handed Grizzlies, who led by as many as 22 points.
Detroit’s comeback from a 19-point halftime deficit was its largest since rallying from being down 23 points to beat Seattle on March 31, 1989.
Pistons star Blake Griffin was limited to five points and two rebounds in 18-plus minutes, barely playing in the second half because of his injured left knee.
Detroit’s Luke Kennard scored 12 of his 15 points off the bench in the second half.
Jackson had all 12 points of his points in the first half and went to the bench as Smith flourished in the final quarter.
“He was unstoppable,” Jackson said.
Detroit opened the fourth with a 16-3 run to pull within three points. Smith made a game-tying 3-pointer and a go-ahead jumper midway through the quarter.
Drummond made two free throws with 2:33 left to put the Pistons up 91-89.