That cliche is never going to get old, is it?
Game Tips at 7:30 P.M. EST
Memphis Grizzlies: 17-21 (6-15 road)
Detroit Pistons: 12-25 (9-8 home)
Thanks in part to an injury to Ben Wallace, coach John Kuester will employ yet another new starting lineup for tonight's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tracy McGrady will start at the point, Rodney Stuckey will move to shooting guard, Tayshaun Prince will stay put, Greg Monroe will fill in at center for Wallace and... (drum roll) Chris Wilcox will start over Charlie Villanueva at power forward. Hey, don't laugh-- according to John Hollinger, Wilcox is our best player. The proof is in the PER!
Despite his reputation, Wilcox has actually been pretty amazing in limited minutes. Kuester has, rightly so, given Wilcox more burn of late, and the man has capitalized. Across his last four appearances, Wilcox has averaged 10 points on 63% shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 4 free throw attempts-- all in just 21 minutes per game. Hey, maybe last season's injuries really did hold him back. It's a good time for Wilcox to come around, as the trade deadline is quickly approaching.
As for Kuester, good on him for changing the lineup once again. With a roster like this, it's important to try new things until you find something that works. Apparently Charlie Villanueva agrees, having asked his twitter followers "what's the definition of insanity" and subsequently retweeted an answer in the form of "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the result to change." Charlie could have stopped there, but instead he subtly smiley-faced two answers from other twitterers that answered "kuester" and "Did your coach evaluate talent at all in the off season?" CV gets an A in passive-aggressive twittering, doesn't he.
One more twitter-related news bit before we dive in. Yesterday, Keith Langlois tweeted: "Pistons fans intrigued to see Zach Randolph for a lot of reasons". What are you insinuating, Keith?
The last time around, Memphis outscored Detroit by 24 points in the second half on its way to a 21-point win. Detroit's 3-point half-time lead was followed by yet another third quarter collapse that ended up lasting two quarters. It was not fun to watch. However, Memphis is a poor road team, they've lost the last two games (both road games as well) and they should not expect an easy win tonight against this... uh... different Pistons team.
Last time around, it was Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur that did Detroit in, combining for 35 points and 20 rebounds while shooting 64% from the floor. It'll be up to Wilcox and Monroe to defend that duo tonight, and doing so effectively will be crucial to winning this game.
Keys to the Game:
Move the Ball: Yep, copy/paste.
Guard play: Not only should ball movement be improved with McGrady and Stuckey in the starting lineup, but Detroit's perimeter D should be much improved. McGrady has been rock solid guarding iso/perimeter plays this season, and this has always been one of Stuckey's talents. These two should help keep Memphis' guards quiet-- in theory.
Big Problems: Memphis has some nasty offensive firepower in their frontcourt, and Detroit will have their hands full here tonight. If foul trouble hits for either Monroe or Wilcox, Villanueva better not drop the ball-- and actually play some post-up defense instead of fouling.
Question of the Game:
So if Stuckey is starting at the 2, who will be the first guard off the bench? Will Hamilton suit up tonight? If so, will we even talk about the game?