Going to the Grindhouse

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (5-11) at Memphis Grizzlies (11-2)
  • Date: November 30, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Entering the contest, the Memphis Grizzlies have the best record in the NBA and own victories over the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder; which happened to play in the NBA Finals this past June. Make no mistake, the Grizz are an upper echelon team.

Lionel Hollins’ crew ranks in the top five for both offensive and defensive efficiency and are a force to be reckoned with quite frankly.

Their one weakness has always been perimeter shooting, and that became even more glaring with the departure of O.J. Mayo.  And yet, the Grizzlies simply brought in a few pieces to help space the floor, which has made them a more dangerous team.

Their strength will always be the bruising tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, that simply dominate most teams on the interior with their scoring and rebounding. Indeed, for all the talk about how the pairing of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard would produce the most destructive interior force in the NBA, it’s actually the Memphis duo that has made life a living hell for the other teams in the NBA.

Memphis scores 44.8 points in the paint per game, and has the third best offensive rebounding rate in the Association. Their collective assault of the paint against opponents results in them manufacturing 24.6 free throw attempts per game (seventh in the NBA).

This may be particularly troubling for a Detroit Pistons team that is in the bottom tier of points allowed in the paint and that allows teams to generate 24.8 freebies per game. Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will be asked to match the physical toughness of Gasol and Z-Bo tonight, and that will be an incredibly tough task.

Further exacerbating issues for the rest of the league, the Memphis Grizzlies play hard. Really hard.

Their defensive energy is impressive to look at, as they play physical and challenging defense. They get into the face of opponents and dare them to either put the ball on the floor or execute a seemingly easy pass. No matter how easy or simple a play might look at first glance against the Grizzlies, it’s important to understand that they are constantly baiting their opponents and just waiting to force a miscue to get out in transition.

Memphis players are always on high alert defensively and ready to pounce on any ball handler or post player trying to get inside the lane to create a scoring opportunity. They will swipe at the ball, get into passing lanes and bump players to throw them off course and generate turnovers. It’s worth noting that because they are so aggressive and physical defensively that referees tend to swallow their whistles because Memphis’ consistent in your face style defense sets the tone for how the game is called.

Consequently, Grizzlies’ games are typically quite physical because the officials allow for more contact than the average NBA game.

In order for the Pistons to be victorious tonight, it will be of utmost importance that they play through their mistakes, but that they also keep them to a minimum. In addition, they will have to match the intensity of the Grizzlies and challenge their frontline in order to have a shot to win it late because Tony Allen may very well simply completely take out one of the Pistons perimeter players with his superb defense.

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue.

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