Friday, December 21, 2007

Grizzlies vs Detroit - 12.21.07

Memphis heads to Detroit with the glow of a last second victory in their eyes and the taste of their first win in a game decided by three points or less all season. I imagine that visions of sugarplums are dancing in their heads as well. They better wake up and get serious however because Detroit is downright scary (take it any way you want). Michael Conley should be cleared to practice with the team very soon (he said he was ready to go last night and was just waiting on the Doctors to inspect him to get cleared to play) but I don't expect for him to see the court anytime soon. Rudy Gay has established himself as a serious candidate for Most Improved Player in the league with that buzzer beating three point shot over Tim Duncan. The Grizzlies have won 2 of 3 games after a 6 game losing streak.

Detroit heads home with the glow of a last second victory in their eyes and the taste of the first visiting team victory in Boston all season. I imagine that visions of pick and rolls and hard fouls are dancing in their heads. They are the Pistons after all, home of the Bad Boys and the hardest working team in the NBA. Sugarplums just don't enter their minds even in dreams. Chauncey Billups was the man again as he faked Tony Allen into biting on a desperation three point shot, drew the foul and calmly sank the free throws to win the game. The Pistons are 8-2 in their last 10 games and a top the Central Division standings.

Zack's Corner - Q/A Time

Q: The Griz and Pistons just played 10 days ago. What has happened since then?
A: The Griz have went 2-2. They played probably their worst game of the season against the Clippers, but followed that up with their best 2 wins of the season against the Magic and Spurs. The Pistons have went 3-1, including their signature win of the season, beating the Celtics in Boston.

Q: Should Griz fans hope for a high or low scoring game?
A: There might not be a logical answer to this question. The Pistons are 11-0 when scoring over 100 points. The Grizzlies are 1-9 when scoring less than 100 points. I guess I'll go with a high scoring game.

Q: What went wrong in the last game?
A: Everything. Started out slow (37-22 in the 1st quarter). The Pistons backcourt totally dominated the Grizzlies backcourt. The Grizzlies couldn't force many turnovers on defense (leading to the Pistons having a 19-4 fastbreak point advantage) and wasn't getting many assisted FG's on offense.

Q: What should be the most important point of emphasis tonight?
A: The Grizzlies backcourt holding their own against Billups and Hamilton. Damon, Kyle, Navarro and Miller are the key players tonight.


Point Guards: Damon Stoudamire vs Chauncey Billups
Damon has been playing some of the best basketball of his Memphis career. There is a not so subtle statistic to look for with Damon. He averages around 10 ppg in Grizzlies wins but only 6 ppg in losses. Chauncey Billups is having another solid season. He is 2nd on the Pistons in scoring, first in assists and steals but not hitting his shots at the same clip he has in the past. The last time these two met Billups had his way with Damon. If that happens again it will be a long night for the Grizzlies.
Advantage: Detroit

Shooting Guards: Juan Carlos Navarro vs Richard Hamilton

Juan Carlos Navarro can shoot. No big news there as the former MVP of the Spanish League has always been known as a scorer. Juan Carlos can play defense. Now that is something people weren't so sure about. After struggling early NAvarro has begun to pick up how to slow players down. Slowing down Hamilton is never easy as the man simply has an incredible amount of energy. Constantly in motion 'Rip' has been known to wear out opponents in the 1st half with the constant need to fight thru picks which Detroit sets liberally for their leading scorer. Mike Miller is more of a set shooter and his defense has been questioned. To keep up with Hamilton Navarro may have to sacrifice his offense. Size is also a problem as the 6-3 Navarro surrenders four inches to Hamilton.
Advantage: Detroit

Small Forwards: Mike Miller vs Tayshaun Prince

Tayshaun Prince's lanky body allows him to play surprisingly good defense without being outmatched physically. This will be a difficult match for Mike as Prince is sneaky good on offense as well. Prince is 3rd on the Pistons in scoring and hits 49.6% of his FG attempts. Mike has woken up is offense after a slow start of the season and is starting to pour in baskets in bunches but he is still a defensive weak point. Unlike Hamilton, Prince isn't a constant mover without the ball so possibly this will allow Miller to focus more on offense where he is needed.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Rasheed Wallace

Rasheed Wallace is one of the most difficult big men to play in the NBA. He leads the Pistons in rebounding at only 7.3 a game but adds 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks a game while hitting 39% of his 3 pt attempts. Rudy Gay however can match Wallace in height, perimeter agility, rebounding and defense while having a far better overall offensive game. Rudy will have to be aggressive however against a pretty good defender who will have the home court and experience advantage. A classic match up that should be worth the price of admission. While I doubt it will make the difference in the game, it should be fun to watch anyway.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Antonio McDyes

Darko's return gives Memphis an extremely physical interior presence that the team desperately needs. Darko is returning to the scene of the crime in this game. Detroit is where he sat and watched as the Pistons played. Hopefully that will bring some extra incentive for the big Serbian. Antonio McDyes has been sick offensively this year hitting 56.8% of his FG attempts and he doesn't just try to dunk the ball. That percentage is made with 8-10 foot jump shots contested by some pretty big men. If Darko can avoid foul trouble he may just have enough emotion to overcome his numerous bumps and bruises.
Advantage: Detroit

Benches: Memphis vs Detroit

Detroit runs an 8 man rotation for the most part. The big three off the bench are Jason Maxiel, Jarvis Hayes and Ronald 'Flip' Murray. All three of these players average about 8 ppg. The new entry off the bench is Aaron Afflalo. The UCLA rookie has been earning time of late which allows Rip Hamilton a few minutes break each half. The rest of the Detroit bench plays less than 10 mpg and aren't expected to contribute unless the game is over. Memphis is settling into an 8 man rotation while Gasol is out raising questions as to what will happen when he returns. The newest Grizz, Jerome Richardson, should be in uniform for this game but it is doubtful he will see action. That leaves Kyle Lowry, Hakim Warrick and Stromile Swift as the main contributors off the bench. Jacobsen will see some action simply because Miller and Rudy can't play 48 minutes but not otherwise. There is a possiblity Pau Gasol will be active for this game and not wait until after Christmas as was originally reported in the paper.
Advantage: Detroit

Other Pre-game Sites/Relevant Commentary:
Pistons Nation Blog
Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit News - Chris McCosky
Wages of Wins "Are the Pistons This Good"


hptmatt said...

Grizzlies have to be able to score better in this game than the last DET game-if we can score with them, then we have a chance.

A grindout game spells major doomage for the Grizzlies.

Grizz 119
Pistons 111

whoa..what was in that chicken fried rice I just ate???


ChipC3 said...

Sorry guys but the omens and signs point to another blow out win by Detroit.

Of course I am usually wrong in my predictions.

nancyw said...

After Wednesday night's win, no way am I making a prediction on this one. No predictions for me until at least the first of the year. :-)

BUT--we did beat the Spurs, so maybe....just maybe...we can beat the Pistons. I do have hope!