MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Richard Hamilton scored 25 points, Ben
Gordon added 22, and the Detroit Pistons ran away from the Memphis
Grizzlies 96-74 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both
The two guards were a combined 17 of 31 from the floor, and that
was after Hamilton started the game missing five of his first six
Hamilton left the game after spraining his right ankle on a shot
with just under 5 minutes to play. He hit one of the two ensuing
free throws, then went straight to the dressing room on the next
Tayshaun Prince finished with 14 points for Detroit in new coach
John Kuester's debut, while Rodney Stuckey scored 12.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Rudy Gay
scored 16 points, and Zach Randolph recorded 14 points and nine
rebounds in his first game with the Grizzlies, who were without the
injured Allen Iverson.
After shooting well at the start, Memphis struggled to 36
percent from the field, while Detroit finished at 51 percent.
Already leading by 14 entering the final quarter, Detroit
clicked off eight unanswered points to open the period, including
consecutive 3-pointers by Gordon. That gave Detroit a 20-point
lead, and Memphis was on its way to losing its ninth straight
Memphis shot well early, but the turnover problems that plagued
the Grizzlies in the preseason continued. The Detroit pressure
defense caused some of the miscues; some came as Memphis tried to
Hamilton got untracked in the second quarter, connecting on six
of his seven shots in the period, en route to 17 first-half points.
That helped Detroit carry a 53-41 lead into the dressing room.
Gordon came off the bench to hit five of his first six shots for
15 points in the half. His 3-pointer near the midway point of the
second period extended the Pistons' lead to double digits.
Memphis guards Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo combined to shoot only
3 of 16 from the floor in the game.
Detroit led by as much as 17 in the third quarter and brought a
71-57 lead into the fourth, which Memphis never really threatened.
Notes: Memphis wore its alternate Beale Street Blue uniforms for
the first time in the game. Prince started his 437th consecutive
game, tops among active players. Kuester acknowledged a bit of
nervousness. "The butterflies are there, and I think you're
anxious to get going," he said before the game. "I'm just lucky
to have a great group of guys who work hard at this thing. To get
the season going, and to improve each game is going to be important
to us, and I'm looking forward to it." Within seconds of entering
the game in the first quarter, Gordon recorded a four-point play.
The Grizzlies next host the Toronto Raptors Friday night at FedExForum