7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan
Line: Memphis by 3.5
Opponent Blog: Detroit Bad Boys
Injury Report: MEM: Randolph (knee); DET:Bynum (foot) EXPECTED TO PLAY, Villanueva (ankle)
After dropping three-in-a-row, the Grizzlies are seeking to make it five-straight wins against the struggling Pistons when they head into Detroit on Friday night. The way things have been looking in Detroit lately says the Grizzlies will do just that.
More after the jump.
The two teams are seeking similar outcomes that comes with a win: the Grizzlies try to win back-to-back road games for the first time in nearly a year, while the Pistons hope to avoid their first five-game home losing streak since the 2009-2010 season.
The winners of four-straight, the Grizzlies have seen both Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol step up since Zach Randolph suffered a torn MCL on New Years Day. In the last 10 games, Gay has averaged 18.4 points with .475 shooting. Gasol has averaged 14.2 points with 2.4 blocks and 11.6 boards. The two performances are a large part of the Grizzlies 6-3 run since Randolph's injury.
One cannot pin the success solely on Gay and Gasol - Mike Conley has been practically maturing overnight. With each quarter he seems to be producing more and making smart plays with the basketball. In his last ten games, he's averaged 14.1 points and 7.9 assists.
Memphis is also seeing production from O.J. Mayo from 3-point range - Mayo is 11-17 from 24 feet out the last five games. Mayo has been a hot topic in NBA news lately - rumors said he was in hot trade talks with the New Jersey Nets. These talks have since ceased, as the Nets seem to have snagged a pure scorer at the two-guard spot with the strong showing of MarShon Brooks.
Detroit can't claim the same success at Memphis - loser of nine of 10 overall, the Pistons have dropped three-straight to the Grizzlies. They're also the lowest-averaging team in the league with only 85.0 points after 48 minutes. Experts at ESPN are blaming the disaster season on Detroit's fourth-quarter play, having been outscored by 25 in the fourth during its three-game losing streak.
The Grizzlies need to continue executing tough, defensive assignments on the opposing team. In the four-game winning streak, the offense has been on fire and clicked. The defense, however, led by strong man Tony Allen, is the element of Memphis Grizzlies basketball that has been winning games. The defense must pay close attention to Tayshaun Prince. Prince has been hot lately, scoring 23.0 points during the three-game losing streak.
Expect the Grizzlies to walk Straight Outta Detroit with an 8-6 record. They way they've been playing, Memphis just can't be stopped.
Final Prediction: Memphis 94, Detroit 87
As always, game thread will be posted at 7:30 PM. Be there or be square.