After beating the best team in the Western Conference their last time out, the Memphis Grizzlies will try for a repeat against one of the top clubs in the East on Friday when they visit the Detroit Pistons.
The Grizzlies (8-17) defeated San Antonio 88-85 on Wednesday thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer by Rudy Gay as time expired. It was the second win in three games for Memphis following a season-high six-game losing streak.
The Central Division-leading Pistons (18-7), meanwhile, also won in dramatic fashion Wednesday. Chauncey Billups hit two free throws with a tenth of a second left as Detroit handed Boston its first home loss of the season, 87-85.
Billups turned the ball over, giving the Celtics a chance to grab the lead, but Paul Pierce missed a shot and Rasheed Wallace grabbed the rebound before calling a time out with 1.7 seconds remaining. Billups was then fouled by Tony Allen on a pump fake.
"It was definitely a playoff type game," Billups said. "We looked forward to this game. ... This is a gauge game ... just to see kinda where you are at."
The Pistons have won three straight and 10 of their last 12, holding their last four opponents under 90 points.
Billups tied a season-high with 28 points Wednesday, scoring 12 during the fourth quarter.
"Chauncey's one of the best clutch players in the league," Boston's Kevin Garnett said.
Billups, who leads the Pistons with 18.3 points per game, has averaged 22.9 in the last seven. During that stretch, he is 62-of-68 from the free-throw line.
Detroit has won five straight over the Grizzlies and 18 of the 23 all-time meetings. Billups has averaged 23.6 points during that five-game winning streak, including two 30-point performances.
On Wednesday, the Grizzlies outscored San Antonio 31-19 in the opening quarter and took a 49-35 lead into halftime. They struggled in the fourth quarter, however, scoring just 12 points.
"We were on fumes in the fourth. Clearly, the minutes we played our guys started to show," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "I think that had a lot to do with the turnovers in the fourth, and the tightening of the nerves."
Manu Ginobili tied the game at 85 with 2.4 seconds left. After a Memphis timeout, Juan Carlos Navarro threw the inbounds pass to Gay, who dribbled toward the top of the key and got the shot off as time expired.
"I had Tim Duncan on me, and he really didn't get to me fast enough. I put it up, and it went in," said Gay, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. "You've always got questions when you take a shot like that, but it felt good, and that's all you can say."
Gay, leading the Grizzlies with 19.7 points per game, has averaged 29.0 over the last three.
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