- Teams: Memphis Grizzlies (14-18) at Detroit Pistons (14-19)
- Date: January 4, 2014
- Time: 1:00 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons are reeling. They have lost three consecutive games and also, they have been blown out in two of those contests. The juggernauts (more like juggernots) responsible for giving the Pistons two beat downs were the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Maurice Cheeks and company have had quite some time to contemplate these losses given that a schedule quirk allowed the Pistons to remain idle since December 30.
The players might benefit from some fresh legs, but then again Pistons players may also be somewhat rusty with the layoff. Their opponents today have been playing games at a regular rate and thus, it’s quite possible that their timing will be a tad superior.
The Memphis Grizzlies have alternated between wins and losses in their last five game, but they are a dangerous team no less. Detroit might not have found its footing as of yet, but they did take a step in the right direction by borrowing Memphis’ roster blueprint.
The Pistons are built in a manner that is practically identical to the Griz except for the talent disparity in the frontcourt. When Zach Randolph is one his game, he is the best player out of the two units.
He combines toughness with smarts and solid touch to drive opponents crazy with his below-the-rim game. It’s like that famous Kenny Smith saying: “some guys can jump over the building while some guys can simply go through the door”.
Randolph relies on mid-range jumpers, offensive rebounds and shots around the basket that stem from post-ups. Very few players can limit his production and well, it’s probably fair to say that no one on the Detroit frontline is equipped for such a task.
Keep in mind, the Pistons are average at best when it comes to defending the paint, and that’s where Z-Bo earns his paycheck. Interestingly enough, Randolph will have his hands full tonight because he will be called upon to defend players that also make their living in the painted area.
Per NBA.com, the majority of the shots taken by Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have been within the restricted area so far this season. That’s an important factor given that the Memphis big man will occasionally commit fouls on the interior.
Hence, if he is asked to defend pick-and-rolls, wall off the paint and serve as a semblance of a rim protector today against Detroit, he will likely get himself into foul trouble.
The Grizzlies are an incredibly physical team and therefore, the Pistons will have to match that whilst playing disciplined basketball — avoid live ball turnovers — in order to secure a win.