AUrunna here, checking in for DJturtleface while he's away in Europe. Unlike my colleague, I do not share his unbridled enthusiasm for the Memphis Grizzlies, but I'm strong enough to cover for a few weeks.
Back to the story, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Detroit Pistons handily Saturday night in a preview of the season opener for both teams.
Let's take a closer look on the other side.
The high octane tandem of Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo led the Grizzlies to a big win with 25 and 21 points respectively while being incredibly efficient from the field. Obviously they won't shoot that well from the field every night, but I think a key to their success if being able to get these two stars their points as efficiently as possible, and not having to dominate the ball for the whole game.
Zach Randolph followed up his first good game with another solid performance, hanging 17 on the Pistons and adding 12 rebounds as well. Mike Conley led the team with 7 assits, and seemed to run the offense with some authority. Marc Gasol was the only starter who really didn't impress tonight, but set the tone defensively, albeit it against Ben Wallace, with 2 blocks and a steal.
The team shot 52% overall for the game, and 40% from beyond the arc, both numbers that will translate into a lot of victories if they can stay close to that. These percentages were helped by some good bench performances from Marcus Williams and Steven Hunter who came up big off the bench. Williams' numbers can be deceiving though, as he was an overall -9 when on the floor; not a good sign for a guy who's suoopsed to run the show. DeMarre Carrol struggled tonight after a really good beginning to the preseason, being the only other Grizzly with a negative, but his hustle did show, even in the box score.
One thing to look for improvment in the upcoming preseason games must be defending the opposing guards. Ben Gordon, Will Bynum, and Rodney Stuckey got to the hoop at will and really kept the Pistons in it for a while. Against stronger teams, and teams at full strength, I'm afraid this will be a big concern, but hopefully we can see some improvement by the time the season starts up. This game will give an interesting glimpse at what changes in about 10 days for both teams.