for this game

Gasol leads Grizzlies over Pistons, 99-93

Jan 28, 2010 - 4:28 AM AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) -- The Detroit Pistons hung right with Memphis for 45 minutes.

The last three minutes belonged to the Grizzlies.

Marc Gasol scored the game's final eight points and the Pistons missed their final eight shots as the Grizzlies posted a 99-93 victory Wednesday night.

"We've had a lot of games where we had the lead the whole game, and then in the last five minutes, we'd lose our focus and lose the game," Gasol said. "Tonight, we executed better. Detroit tried to take some stuff away from us, but we made it work and made shots at the end."

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins didn't have any doubts about who made the final difference.

"Marc won the game," he said. "We were down two, but he makes two free throws, makes two more free throws, scores and then at the end, he makes two more free throws. It was a grind-it-out game, but we showed a lot of toughness tonight."

Gasol added 12 rebounds while Zach Randolph had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, which won its third straight. All five Grizzlies starters scored at least 14 points.

"This is pretty much how it has been all year," said O.J. Mayo, who finished with 16 points. "We're pretty stable with our starting five, because that's who we are going with down the stretch. Tonight was a prime example of executing at the end of the game."

Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 17 points and 11 assists and Richard Hamilton added 16 points and 10 assists. The Pistons have lost three straight.

Twenty minutes after the final buzzer, Charlie Villanueva was still sitting at his locker in full uniform, a towel over his head, while Tayshaun Prince declined to speak to the media.

"We played almost 48 minutes tonight, so I'm pleased," said Pistons coach John Kuester, who had been critical of his team's effort in a lopsided loss to Indiana last week. "We competed. It's a shame to lose this game."

The offenses dominated the first half, with both teams shooting over 50 percent. Memphis led 56-50 at the intermission, thanks to seven offensive rebounds and 14 points each from Randolph and Gasol.

Both defenses improved in the third quarter, but it made little difference in the score. The Pistons only outscored Memphis 24-23 in the period, narrowing the gap to 79-74 going into the fourth.

Jason Maxiell got Detroit even with a dunk, a steal and a tip-in that tied the game at 85 with 6:55 left.

The score was tied at 93 when Villanueva fouled Gasol with 59 seconds left. He made both free throws, and Hamilton missed a 3-pointer at the other end.

"That play was perfect - Stuckey drove and when he didn't have a shot, he kicked it out to Rip for a wide-open 3," Kuester said. "We just didn't make the shots. We had great looks down the stretch, and we got to the line, but we didn't make."

Gasol's hook shot gave Memphis a four-point edge, and the Pistons couldn't mount a last-second rally.

"I'm sure Detroit's time will come, but I'm glad our time is now," Hollins said.

NOTES: Ben Gordon (groin) missed his 19th game of the season, and Will Bynum (ankle) also sat out for Detroit. Because of those injuries, Chucky Atkins was forced into duty despite a sternum injury, but couldn't shoot. He went scoreless in 14 minutes. ... Detroit's Jonas Jerebko was named to the rookie team for next month's Rookie vs. Sophomore game in Dallas, while Gasol and Mayo will play for the sophomores. ... Detroit had a 33-4 edge in bench scoring.