Grizzlies Preview: Motor City Coming To Tangle In Memphis


Jan 5, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings (7) defends Memphis Grizzlies small forward Tayshaun Prince (21) during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Grizzlies won 112-84. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies continue their home stand as they take on the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night at the Grindhouse, looking to improve upon their 8-1 record after defeating the Kings in a come-from-behind thriller on Thursday.

The last time these two teams battled on the hardwood, the Grizzlies came away victorious in a 112-84 blowout on the road; however, we should anticipate this game to be much closer as Detroit’s roster is more experienced and improved this season. Both of these teams are filled with scrappers, so this will be a very entertaining matchup to keep an eye on.

Below you will find all of the information that you need to know before your Memphis Grizzlies take on the Detroit Pistons head-to-head tomorrow night.

Reshuffled Lineup

In the Grizzlies’ last game (Thursday vs. Sacramento), there was a change made in the starting lineup. Tayshaun Prince was inserted at small forward, Tony Allen slid down to shooting guard, and Courtney Lee came off the bench to provide a scoring boost in the second unit.

Prince only played a total of 11 minutes last game, but Courtney Lee provided a spark off the bench, including a buzzer-beating and game-winning reverse layup off of a lob pass from Vince Carter, resulting in a full comeback from a 26-point deficit in which the Grizzlies came up with the victory– by far the most exciting Grizzlies win of the season.

Perhaps this is the change that needed to be made in order to jumpstart the Grizz bench production while maintaining the chemistry amongst the starters, despite the slow start on Thursday night.

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  • Things to Watch

    • Avoid a slow start!
    • Detroit’s perimeter shooting
    • Pistons’ Athletic frontcourt
    • Grit ‘n’ Grind Grizzly Defense!
    • Foul trouble

    Determining Factors

    1. Grizzlies’ frontcourt MUST dominate! While Memphis typically destroys opposing frontcourts night-in and night-out, the Detroit Pistons have the potential to match the Grizz punch-for-punch in the paint. The Monroe/Drummond tandem has the ability to put up two 20-point/10-rebound stat lines on almost any given night if they find their groove. Plus, the two bigs are a very young and athletic pair, something that might give them an advantage on Saturday night versus Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Z-Bo and Big Spain need to box-out and be on top of their game tonight– no exceptions.
    2. Contain Detroit’s guards and perimeter shooters; limit Piston fastbreaks. Detroit has plenty of shot-chuckers on their team. The Grizzly defense that all of Grizz Nation is accustomed to on a nightly basis should do a great job of forcing the Pistons into taking bad shots. Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope do attempt a lot of shots, so they could get the hot hand. Also, since Detroit is a quick and athletic team, fastbreaks must be limited or disrupted. The “Grindfather,” Tony Allen, will be able to prevent all of this from happening. After all, TA is an expert at shutting the water off!
    3. Force Josh Smith to be a jump-shooter! Josh Smith, season after season, continues to fall in love with jump shots when he could easily get to the rim at will because of his strength and athleticism. Teams have figured “J-Smoove” out now and they know that he actually does not have much “J” to his game. The Grizz will better their chances at winning if they are able to keep Smith out of the painted area, especially in transition.
    4. Grizz must shoot better. Simply put, the Memphis Grizzlies need to shoot better sooner this season rather than later. Shooting percentages have been an issue through these first couple weeks to the season, but hopefully the rust will wear off any game now. This will help prevent slow starts.
    5. Grizz bench must show up. This is a perfect opportunity for the Grizzly bench to continue to find their rhythm. Promising signs were shown earlier this week against the Lakers when Beno Udrih and Kosta Koufos each had double-figure scoring games. This carried over into the last game, too, with Vince Carter having his best game of the season (11 points on 80% shooting) and Courtney Lee being moved to the bench, contributing 16 points of his own. The Grizz bench put up a season-best 50 points against the Kings and it would be tremendous if this type of team effort would become the norm going forward for the Memphis Grizzlies.
    6. Detroit’s fatigue. The Pistons went into overtime against the OKC Thunder, and with the matchup against the Grizz being the second game of a back-to-back, Detroit might wear down quicker than normal on Saturday night. The Grizzlies should attempt to push and control the tempo so that the momentum favors them for 48 minutes on their home floor.

    Key Game Notes

    • Forward Tayshaun Prince will be competing against some very familiar faces on Saturday night as the Pistons originally traded him to the Grizzlies in 2013 after spending ten seasons and a part of another in the Motor City.
    • The Pistons will be playing the second game of a back-to-back as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime earlier tonight (Friday) in Oklahoma.
    • This is the last stop of a four-game road trip for Detroit.
    • Memphis will be looking to improve their league-best record to 9-1.
    • Detroit is currently sitting at a record of 3-6 on the season.

    Injury Report

    The Memphis Grizzlies are currently reporting no known injuries.

    The Detroit Pistons have been listing three injuries lately, which include Luigi Datome (right hamstring strain), Cartier Martin (right foot plantar fasciitis), and Jodie Meeks (stress reaction), but Datome and Martin both were available for practice on Thursday. Martin remained inactive for their Friday night game, as did Meeks; however, Datome was cleared to play. Expect both Datome and Martin to be available for the Pistons when they play Memphis on Saturday night.

    Personal Prediction

    For this matchup that features the Detroit Pistons visiting M-Town  in a “Battle of the Bigs,” I personally believe that the Memphis Grizzlies will win his game by around eight points. Hopefully the Grizzlies mend their shooting/scoring woes and keep their turnover count low, and of course, add another tally mark in the win column.

    Game Time

    This battle tips off at 7:00 P.M. CST in Memphis, Tennessee at the FedEx Forum. You can watch it on SportSouth television or listen to it on the radio at 92.9FM WMFS.