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Apr 4, 2024 8:02 pm

Pistons, Grizzlies enjoy bright spots while playing out the string

jaren jackson jr

Despite seasons to forget for both the Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies, each team continues to show fight as the NBA regular season winds down.

The two teams meet for the second time this week on Friday in Memphis following the Grizzlies’ 110-108 win in Detroit on Monday.

The Grizzlies (26-50) have had little to celebrate this season, as the club will miss the postseason for the first time since 2020. Memphis has already clinched its most losses in a year since finishing 22-60 in 2017-18.

Veteran Jaren Jackson Jr., however, has been a major bright spot over the last two games, averaging 37.5 points in a pair of wins. He most recently helped lead Memphis to a surprising 111-101 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

“I was taking what the defense gave me,” Jackson said of his 35-point performance against the Bucks. “I’ve been working on my game a lot and I was glad to get the opportunity to get out there and show it a little bit.”

In 66 games this season, Jackson is averaging 22.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Another welcome sight for Grizzlies fans has been the return of fifth-year big man Brandon Clarke.

After missing most of the season while recovering from an Achilles injury, Clarke suited up for the first time March 27 against the Lakers, and he has been easing back into the rotation over the last four games.

In 20 minutes Wednesday, Clarke collected 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists off the bench.

“I’m feeling great,” Clarke said. “I was a bit tired to start the game, my legs are still getting there. But it doesn’t feel like I’ve been out a whole year. It feels like I’ve been out there. I’m glad I’m able to come out and play again.”

Clarke is averaging 12 points and 5.8 rebounds since his return to action.

As for Detroit (13-63), the struggles have been well-documented this season. The team lost 28 straight games from Oct. 30 to Dec. 28, tying an NBA record.

Currently, the Pistons have dropped 10 of their last 11 games as they crawl to the finish line of the long season.

Nonetheless, one Piston did open some eyes Wednesday in their 121-113 loss at the Atlanta Hawks.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Detroit guard Malachi Flynn scored 50 points on 18-for-25 shooting from the field, shattering his previous career high of 27 points.

Flynn, playing for his third team this season, entered play Wednesday averaging just 4.6 points per game.

“Right now, it’s tough because at the end of day you want to win,” Flynn said. “But it does feel good to kind of take in the moment. I’m sure a couple of days from now, it will feel really good.”

Unfortunately for Detroit, nobody else scored more than 11 points in the game and the team fell for a 63rd time.

This year’s group passed the 1993-94 Pistons for third-most losses in a season. Detroit lost 65 games last year, one shy of the 1979-80 team, who finished 16-66.

–Field Level Media

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