Detroit Pistons travel to Memphis


  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (1-0) at Memphis Grizzlies (0-1)
  • Date: November 1, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD
  • Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket

What to look for

After winning their home opener against the Washington Wizards, the Detroit Pistons will travel to the Grind House tonight and find the Memphis Grizzlies waiting for them.

Much has been made about the fact that Detroit borrowed Memphis’ blueprint in building their team and tonight, the original prototype will host its clone. This Grizzlies team is not the one its fans have grown accustomed to in recent seasons though.

Under Lionnel Hollins last season, Memphis was a sound defensive team that bullied opponents on the boards. Also, they were extremely aggressive defensively and forced turnovers by sitting in passing lanes and swiping at driving ball-handlers.

They played a style one could term as controlled chaos. In 2013-14 under David Joerger, they appear to have altered their identity a little. In this instance, one cannot definitively state they have changed their philosophy because we are relying on one game, and that lone contest was against a San Antonio Spurs team that typically dissects opponents.

Still, there were a few things that stood out from that contest against Tim Duncan and company. The defense did not look as aggressive as it did in 2012-13 and surrendered a multitude of open shots.

Initially, the Grizzlies packed the paint and essentially conceded open looks from downtown. When that failed, they extended the defense and got beat on the interior. Put it all together and San Antonio converted 11-of-20 treys and scored 50 points in the paint.

And again, part of that stems from the fact the Spurs have a knack for executing on offense and picking apart defenses. Thus, it’s entirely possible that Detroit will not get the same defensive looks tonight, but it’s worth paying attention to.

On the other side of the ball, Memphis will use Marc Gasol in pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops in an effort to create ball movement and free up Zach Randolph on the block. It’s a great action to keep defenders guessing and open up the high-low game.

The other wrinkle is simply running post-up plays for Gasol given his touch around the basket as well as his solid passing game. The Grizzlies play at a different speed in terms of execution this season, which is quite intriguing.

Indeed, the plays are run a little quicker and there is a bit more off-ball movement. An offense that was prone to stagnation and low-percentage long-range shots now relies a bit more on sharing the wealth and hitting the open man in stride.

This explains how Grizzlies manufactured 24 assists despite only converting 41.9 percent of their field goals in their season opener. This makes tonight’s contest against the Pistons all that more compelling.

The similarity in roster construction is obviously the first thing that comes to mind, but Memphis’ game plan against Detroit will be fun to watch unfold. They will force Josh Smith and company to make multiple rotations, come and contest shots and then retreat back into the paint.

In some instances, the Pistons will get caught closing out on non-shooters and other trips they will surrender open shots to the likes of Mike Miller.

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue.

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Tags: Memphis Grizzlies THN-MEM

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