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Conley, Milicic lead Grizzlies over Pistons

Mar 15, 2009 - 8:38 PM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Darko Milicic had played 56 times at the Palace of Auburn Hills without ever reaching double figures in points or rebounds before Sunday.

In his 57th try, he finally showed a glimpse of why the Pistons drafted him ahead of Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.

The No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft had 12 points and 11 rebounds to help the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Pistons 89-84.

"It's especially good to beat Detroit and in their house," Milicic said. "We've learned from losing a lot of tight games -- when we make mistakes, the other team scores. Tonight, we didn't make those mistakes."

Mike Conley had 20 points for Memphis, which ended a seven-game losing streak to the Pistons. Detroit, which trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half, fell to 2-11 on Sundays.

"We were down 17 points at the half to the Memphis Grizzles," said an obviously frustrated Michael Curry. "We didn't come ready to play, and there's no excuse for that. We made sure this team was rested, but we're not taking care of ourselves on Saturdays. I could speculate on the reasons, but you'll have to ask the individuals."

Another fabled draft bust, Kwame Brown, couldn't explain it. Brown had six points and a season-high 13 rebounds in 26 minutes.

"Maybe it is some kind of Sunday jinx," he said. "We just shot ourselves in the foot in the first half."

Antonio McDyess led the Pistons with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Richard Hamilton had 14 points and 12 assists.

A jumper from McDyess gave the Pistons a 78-77 lead with 5:16 left, and the teams traded the advantage until the last minute. Tayshaun Prince missed a potential go-ahead runner with 26 seconds left, forcing Detroit to foul.

Conley hit two free throws to make it 87-84, and Hamilton missed a 3-pointer. Quinton Ross then iced the game from the line.

"This was a huge step for us," Conley said. "We've been in that position a lot, and we let the game get away from us. For us to make the stops and then execute on offense -- that's big."

Memphis led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter and was up 57-40 at intermission. The Grizzlies shot 68 percent in the half while holding Detroit to 42 percent.

"That was fun," Conley said. "Rudy (Gay) was doing a great job of getting everyone involved -- he passed the ball more than I've ever seen him."

Things got worse for the Pistons when McDyess, who had played just eight first-half minutes because of foul trouble, picked up his fourth in the first 90 seconds of the third period.

McDyess stayed in, and his offense helped the Pistons narrow the gap to 61-51. His nine points had Detroit within 73-66 at the start of the fourth quarter.