After concluding a long Western Conference road trip last week, the Pistons are back to facing Western Conference teams, this time at home. The Pistons won a thriller over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, so they will be looking to do the same against a better Grizzlies team.
The Grizzlies are coming off a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, as they start to hit their stride a bit as they get some players back from injury. They haven’t been quite as good as they were last season, but they are still one of the contenders in the Western Conference.
The Pistons have a chance to string together a couple of impressive home wins before hitting the road on Tuesday.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Sunday, December 4 at 6 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Grizzlies (-6)
The story for the Grizzlies is superstar point guard Ja Morant. Coming off winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award last season, he has somehow hit another level this season. He is averaging 28.2 points per game to go along with 7.2 assists and is even up to 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Morant is already an impossible cover with his athleticism and ability to attack the basket, but the fact that he is also a league average shooter from beyond the arc makes him even more difficult to cover. Killian Hayes will likely draw that matchup, and he actually did a very good job defending Luka Doncic in the win over the Mavericks on Thursday.
However, Ja Morant is a different beast than Luka because he is far more athletic, even if Luka has the advantage size-wise and shooting-wise. Killian Hayes is coming off a career night on offense and Ja Morant shouldn’t give him too many issues on defense, so he can hopefully build off of that performance.
The player the Pistons should really be worried about it Jaren Jackson Jr. He always seems to be on the mark shooting the ball against the Pistons, and the Pistons aren’t exactly blessed with 6’10”+ big guys that can guard somebody out on the perimeter. Isaiah Stewart will probably be given the matchup to handle him, but that will leave Marvin Bagley to stop Steven Adams’ strong offensive rebounding.
One thing the Pistons have going for them is that the Grizzlies are without Desmond Bane, who is out with a toe injury. He is the Grizzlies’ best shooter and probably their best offensive player outside of Ja Morant.
His absence hasn’t had too much of an impact on Grizzlies since it did coincide with Jaren Jackson coming back, but it definitely makes this game more winnable for the Pistons.
It is going to take a lot to beat the Grizzlies. It took incredible shooting down the stretch out of Killian Hayes just to barely beat the Mavericks on Thursday, and it also took a 30 point effort from Bojan Bogdanovic on 71% shooting. A win will be a tough task, but I would expect the Pistons to at least play the Grizzlies tough, which they have done pretty much every game with the exception of the game against the Knicks on Tuesday.
Memphis Grizzlies (13-9): Ja Morant, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr, Steven Adams
Detroit Pistons (6-18): Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley
Question of the Day
Has Killian Hayes truly turned a corner, or do you still need to see more of his recent play over a longer period?