Game tips at 7:30 pm ET
Detroit Pistons: 15-28 (11-11 home, -4.8 margin)
Memphis Grizzlies: 24-19 (7-14 road, +0.2 margin)
The surprise team of the year makes a visit to the Palace. The Memphis Grizzlies have ridden an impressive interior assault to a surprising 24-19 record, and are presently scuffling with six other teams for the final three playoff births in the Western Conference.
Memphis can really put points on the board, thanks to an up-tempo system and a tenacious offensive rebounding from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. In fact, this game is a match-up of the leagues two best offensive rebounding teams. Given the Piston's inability to make shots, we could see some records fall in that category.
Speaking of Randolph, he is getting a lot of buzz (not least of which from me) as a potential all-star reserve. He ought to be a shoo-in, but I wonder if he won't split votes with the (also impressive) Gasol.
The rest of the roster is somewhat less impressive. OJ Mayo hasn't taken the leap many in Memphis surely hoped he would. Point guard Mike Conley has actually taken a step backward, though he is starting to kick it into gear. As you might expect of a cash-strapped organization, the bench is terrible. Hasheem Thabeet has surprised nobody by being a complete bust.
Chucky Atkins faces the team for which he played his best basketball.
Keys for Detroit
Get 'em in foul trouble - Not kidding about that bench. Gasol, in particular, has a propensity to get in foul trouble, and that makes a big difference.
Feed it to Charlie V. inside - I've got a feeling I can just cut and paste this one for the rest of the season.
Crash the glass - Strangely, the Grizzlies are among the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league. There should be some real opportunities for second chance points on both sides tonight.
Question of the Game
Will Jonas Jerebko let his rookie game selection go to his head? Rumor has it, he's making everyone call him Ingmar now.
You'd better maneuver to get Straight Outta Vancouver.