The Detroit Pistons travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies tonight in their second regular season contest. After a solid opening night outing where the Pistons’ frontline dominated the Washington Wizards, they will face as tough of a test up front as they will all season.
The Grizzlies are coming off a 101-94 loss on the road to the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs, the team of whom that swept the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals a season ago.
The Grizzles featuring Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have arguably the league’s best big duo and really impose their will physically. Not only can they play a bruising type of game on the block, both players have a lot of skill and will give the Pistons’ bigs all they can handle tonight on both ends of the floor.
Also, expect Randolph, aka Z-Bo, to show up to play tonight after only recording two points versus the Spurs on opening night.
It’s an early season contest and only each of the teams’ second contest, but there’s a lot of good that can come out of it–particularly for the Pistons. This is the type of game that can spark an early season run and instill confidence in a relatively young squad.
The Pistons showed off an all-around arsenal of talent up front Wednesday night and did it with balance on both ends of the floor. Tonight they will play a team in Memphis that plays tenaciously on the defensive end and the way the Pistons respond can be a major measuring stick early in this young season.
Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will need to be on their A game and share the rock creatively as they did the other night. Monroe, who played like a guy in the last year of his deal Wednesday night, can be a major difference maker against Memphis if he sees a lot of time matched up with Z-Bo on the offensive end. Neither Randolph or Monroe are known for their shutdown defense, so both players could see some scoring figures reaching the twenties-plus tonight.
It will be interesting to see how coach Mo Cheeks handles his lineups tonight. The Grizzlies have obvious problems shooting from the outside, so it probably won’t come as a surprise if he stacks the deck up front and plays Smith, Monroe and Drummond together quite a bit.
Not only will the Pistons be tested in the frontcourt, the backcourt will have their hands full trying to take care of the ball against two scrappy/havoc-causing guards in Mike Conley and Tony Allen, the Association’s best perimeter defender in my opinion. The Pistons struggled mightily early against the Wizards taking care of the ball and if they do that tonight they will find themselves in a world of hurt.
Billups should assume a larger role as the team’s primary ball handler until Brandon Jennings comes back, which can be as early as Sunday against the Boston Celtics. There’s also a chance Rodney Stuckey will be back in the Pistons’ lineup tonight after suffering a fractured thumb.
It’s a non-conference contest really early in the season, but it can also be a game that catapults the Pistons in a really positive direction.