MEMPHIS -- They've lost close ones.
They've lost ones in which they couldn't corral a defensive rebound off a free throw.
And they've been blown out by 32 in a game that was a national embarrassment.
We're talking about the Pistons' road futility against Western Conference foes and it was time for another close one Friday night.
They were up six with 1:08 left against the Grizzlies on Friday night and they appeared to be in good shape.
But that lead quickly evaporated and former Piston Tayshaun Prince's three-point jumper with 2:19 left in overtime was the key basket and allowed the Grizzlies to pull away from the Pistons.
The 111-108 loss dropped the Pistons to 1-1 on the season and extended their losing streak in road games against Western Conference to 19 games.
"I had forgotten all about that," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks joked when reminded of the Pistons futility. "I told you (before the game), it's going to end, it's going to end."
But it could have ended Friday.
Josh Smith's triple with 1:08 left gave the Pistons a 94-88 lead. It was an uneven game for Smith, who was only 3-for-11 from three-point land to give ammunition to his critics, but he stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots.
Mike Conley hit two free throws and that's when the key play occurred. After using his veteran savvy to draw a foul on Conley, the normally reliable Billups was only able to hit one of two free throws -- leaving the door open.
"I'll take my chances with Chauncey anytime," Cheeks said. "Whether he's on the line or shooting the ball, I take my chances with him because he's really good.
"Overall effort, I can't complain."
Marc Gasol (15 points, eight rebounds) forced overtime with a three-point play and later tipping in his own missed driving shot with 8.2 seconds left.
The Pistons called time-out and Billups ran a pick-and-roll with Greg Monroe. He was open from 30 feet, but his shot was short.
They still had a shot in overtime before Prince's corner triple gave the Grizzlies a 102-97 lead. He gave the shot a little extra English as you know the bucket felt good coming against the team that traded him last winter. He only scored eight points in 20 minutes as he is still weakened by the mysterious stomach ailment that sidelined him for two weeks during the preseason.
The Pistons were stagnant on offense at times. They tried to exploit Smith against Mike Miller, who had five fouls. But the many possessions ended in rushed shots or turnovers.
"I think we need to stay calm, everything was a little frantic," Billups said. "We took some tough shots, but we played really good tonight.
"We showed a lot of fight and we played hard. We know what we need to do the next time we play them."
Rodney Stuckey, who missed most of preseason and the first game of the season because of a broken right thumb, was the Pistons' best player for most of the night and he finished with 19 points. Andre Drummond played 48 minutes and finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds.
"It was a good game, it was a good, fun game," Cheeks said. "It's unfortunate that in regulation we had a couple of plays ... But as I told our guys, that was a Western Conference finals team last year and we were right there and we had a chance to win the game. I'm proud of our guys with the way they came in and played that game."
The Pistons would have had a worse halftime deficit than 47-41 if it wasn't for Stuckey, who scored 11 points in the first half.
The first substitute off the bench, he got off to a slow start when he missed a wide-open lay-up.
But after scoring on a fast-break lay-up he scored in the post on a jump hook.
He then pushed and hit Smith for a streaking lay-up while being fouled. And when he scored a driving lay-up while being fouled himself, he flexed his muscles and shouted, "Yeah!"
He finished his scoring run with a corner triple to pull to the Pistons to within three at 42-39.
"I felt good," said Stuckey, who was poked in the eye in the second half. "Still gonna take me a couple days. I kinda got winded a little fast, but I'm good."
He started the overtime, but quickly came out for Bynum.
"Stuckey was good, it wasn't a case of him not being good," Cheeks said. "In his first game back I didn't want to put too much on him, we got a few more games coming ..."
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