After a close first half, Memphis outscored Detroit 33-18 in the third, then added 10 unanswered points to open the fourth, building the advantage to 22 and running away from the Pistons, who were coming off an 88-84 loss at Dallas on Tuesday night.
"We just needed to get out there, and try to grind and wear them down in the second half," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 17 points, 13 in the first quarter, while Richard Hamilton had 12 before being ejected late in the third quarter. Charlie Villanueva finished with 11 points, while Ben Gordon and Will Bynum scored 10 apiece as Detroit fell to 0-4 in the second game of back-to-backs.
"We had eight quarters and played well in six of them," Pistons coach John Kuester said of the consecutive losses. "The last two quarters, we didn't have the competitive edge I know you need to have on the road. You have to be so mentally tough to play in this situation, and we weren't as mentally tough as I know we could have been."
The Grizzlies outscored the Pistons 58-34 in the second half, eventually holding a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"It's not going well," Pistons center Ben Wallace said. "I don't count quarters. I count wins and losses. We're just not winning as much as we are losing. I'm not going to get into how many quarters we played well. We're just not doing the things I know we're capable of doing."
Memphis made a lineup adjustment for the game, keeping rookie Xavier Henry starting at shooting guard, and letting O.J. Mayo come of the bench. Hollins said the goal is to get more offensive punch from his reserves.
Henry managed two points, hitting his only shot, and Mayo had nine, helping Memphis score a season-high 41 points off the bench.
"We got the win, and we had 41 points off the bench," Hollins said. "I think it played out the way that I hoped it would play out."
Stuckey got the Pistons off to a good start with all of his 13 first-half points in the opening quarter. But Detroit couldn't maintain the advantage, and the game settled into an exchange of leads. There were 10 in the first half.
Villanueva made all but one of his six shots for his 11 points, and Detroit eventually carried a 50-47 lead into the locker room despite Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince going a combined 1 of 9 from the field.
The shooting inaccuracy spread to the rest of the Pistons, as Detroit missed its first eight shots of the second half before a 3-pointer from Hamilton.
Memphis, which leads the league in turnovers forced, turned up the defense after halftime. Detroit committed a handful of miscues that led to fast-break baskets, stretching the Grizzlies' lead to double digits. Meanwhile, the Pistons connected on 5-of-19 shots in the quarter.
"The second half, we were going to wear them down a little bit, try to pick them up full court, push the ball every chance we got, and take advantage of the opportunities," Conley said.
The frustration showed with 51 seconds left in the period as Hamilton earned his second technical and was tossed. That enraged Kuester, who earned another tech. By the time Gay finished shooting the technical free throws, the lead had expanded to 80-66, helping the Grizzlies carry an 80-68 lead into the fourth.
"They just outplayed us," Wallace said. "They executed, got stops, and scored when they needed to. We didn't."
The game was the 200th in Hollins' coaching career, all coming in three stints with the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies had not won a home game against Detroit since Dec. 11, 2005. The Grizzlies' previous season high for bench scoring was last Saturday, 35 against the Miami Heat. The Pistons had four points off eight Grizzlies' turnovers, a season low for a Memphis opponent. Conley had seven assists, the 14th time in the last 15 games he has led Memphis in that category.