WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: Little Ceasers Arena, Detroit, Michigan
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Grayson Allen (Questionable, abdomen)
Detroit: Hamidou Diallo (OUT, Personal), Wayne Ellington (OUT, Calf), Jerami Grant (Knee, OUT), Josh Jackson (Oral Surgery, OUT), Cory Joesph (Ankle, OUT), Rodney McGruder (Elbow, OUT), Mason Plumlee (Rest, OUT), Dennis Smith Jr. (Knee, OUT)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
MINNESOTA: Saddiq Bey, Sekou Doumbouya, Isaiah Stewart, Killian Hayes, Frank Jackson
Last night, the Memphis Grizzlies found the outburst of offense they needed in a bucket bonanza against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ja Morant looked like a superstar, Kyle Anderson was able to show his improved ability to score, and Desmond Bane had his second consecutive excellent game. All of it was needed, as the Grizzlies were able to enjoy some success in crunch time.
The key is to now use last night’s run of good vibes as a boost to find offensive balance. Bane’s performances have especially been clutch. On the other side of things, since going 7-10 beyond the arc against Milwaukee on April 17th, Grayson Allen is 7-34 for three while also missing two games due to a hand injury. De’Anthony Melton went 6-10 from three on April 19th, but has only made 8 of 31 three point shots since that time. The struggles of Melton and Allen have certainly played a big part in the Grizzlies offensive issues overall as of late. Though Bane and Dillon Brooks have stepped up their efforts to help the team remain productive from three, Memphis needs as many shooters as possible to regain their success soon.
Fortunately, the Grizzlies will be facing a team tonight in the Detroit Pistons who may not require for Memphis to be at its absolute best. However, as the games against the Magic last weekend showed us, the Grizzlies must still remain efficient and disciplined in their approach. The Pistons have been without several key rotation players as of late as the the end of the season approaches; however, the Pistons have continued to see big improvements in the games of rookies Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. Though this clearly has been a tough season for the Pistons, their future looks brighter than it has been in a while.
The Grizzlies should be favored in what is likely their best chance at victory for the rest of the season in terms of a singular game. However, there are still a few areas where the Grizzlies must succeed in order to thrive.
Feature the Paint
Though their record may not indicate it, the Pistons have played above-average defense at times this season. They especially focus on the perimeter; though they a league average when it comes to defending three point shots, they are the best in the league at allowing attempts over all. With the Grizzlies recent struggles, tonight would be a great opportunity for the Grizzlies to get back to their bread and butter.
Last night, the Grizzlies had 72 points in the paint and attempted 28 free throws. The Pistons are near the bottom of the league in allowing two point shots and personal fouls. Especially with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke back in the rotation, the Grizzlies may have the opportunity to have two good games in the paint in a row to get the offense back on track and earn the win.
Win the Turnover Battle
The Pistons rank 24th in the league in turnovers committed per game. The Grizzlies have struggled to maintain their ability to create turnovers like they did at a league best rate in the first half of the season. If the Grizzlies can win the war over turnovers, it not only means they did not beat themselves as they did against the Magic, it could allow for them to regain a needed advantage against talented teams. Hopefully, the Grizzlies will find a way to make defense turn into offense tonight.
The Grizzlies played excellent offensive basketball last night to get a victory. Tonight, the Grizzlies have a good opportunity to have a successful night both offensively AND defensively. If the Memphis Grizzlies can get back to back victories on the road, they can confidently move on from their recent struggles. It seems with a renewed focus and an unwavering desire to make the playoffs, this Grizzlies roster is ready to get another win.