After a monumental overtime road victory in Oklahoma City, the Detroit Pistons will be taking their talents east to Memphis. The match-up against the Grizzlies will be, by far, the most daunting obstacle the Pistons have faced all year. Memphis plays with a ruthless nature on defense, and has become more offensively proficient with the additions of Courtney Lee and Vince Carter during the 2014 offseason. This match-up will be very challenging for a Detroit Pistons team that has struggled against top-flight competition this season.
On the Pistons side of the ball, the defense has played far better in the closing minutes of games along with Brandon Jennings proving to be far more of an offensive threat for the Pistons than he was last season. The winning formula for the Pistons seems to be a heavy dose of solid fourth quarter defense along with Brandon Jennings getting free reign within Stan Van Gundy’s offense.
Personified by last night’s game in OKC, Detroit was able to show a microcosm of the blueprint that will get this team into the playoffs this season. If Detroit is to win tonight, they need Jennings to continue his offensive onslaught and the defense to bolster down and control a historically suspect Memphis offense. A solid showing from Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe would certainly improve their chances. Drummond and Monroe’s match-up against a very solid front-court would help with experience over the course of season, but is not a necessity for the Pistons to win tonight’s game.
The important match-up on Memphis’ side of the ball is Zach Randolph and Courtney Lee. The focal point of Detroit’s defensive efforts must be in slowing down the centerpiece of the Memphis offensive.
Throughout this season, Zach Randolph has proven to be the main cog in the Memphis offensive machine. If the Pistons can diminish Randolph’s offensive role tonight, then the Pistons stand a good chance of overpowering the Grizzlies’ offense.
The one sleeper player to pay close attention to is Courtney Lee. Defensively, the Pistons still struggle to guard against solid wing players and Lee is just the type of players to cause issues for the Pistons offensively. If the Pistons are not careful defensively, the wing players of Memphis will turn this game back into the Grizzlies’ favor.
Look for tonight to be a defensive struggle, with both teams emphasizing each others’ standout players in Randolph and Jennings. If Brandon Jennings cannot reproduce his offensive effort from last night, then the Pistons will be in dire straits. This game, however, is more of a morale-boosting win than a necessity after last night’s overtime victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tune into Fox Sports Detroit Plus or 105.1 FM for coverage of tonight’s match-up. Thanks for reading, and go Pistons!