Swing game of a road trip against my second-favorite NBA frontcourt. “Must-win” just doesn’t apply to teams who are four games under .500 at this point of the calendar…but that dreaded phrase is on the horizon.
A nice Sunday seven things for you regarding this game…Thing one: Drummond and Monroe are just awesome. Love watching these young guys play. Perhaps don’t enjoy it quite as much when they’re doing so well against the Grizzlies as they were in the first half, but it’s still enjoyable. All three Pistons frontcourt starters hit double digits in the first half and were stonewalled in the second. Speaking of a tale of two halves, Koufos. Four fouls and general lethargy in the first half, and nothing short of domination of the paint during his minutes in the third and fourth quarters. The Grizzlies ended the game with a 59-43 advantage on the glass and Koufos was a big part of that.
Thing two: The Conley Fatigue Factor, especially with Tony Allen being out for this game with a hand contusion. I will now resist a question regarding whether TA played a game of cards against anyone between the PHX game and this one. Conley had 15 and 6 with only two TO’s, and a good game on defense. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Brandon Jennings for having a Brandon Jennings game with a 2-14 performance that was sure to make Maurice Cheeks OD on Pepto, and trying to get the ball or himself around Conley was a big reason Jennings struggled. No fatigue evident for MC11.
Thing three: That little spurt of three-pointers by the Grizzlies in the first half. At one point they were 5-7 and that cured the Pistons of that zone-defense bug they caught at the start of the game. The team still went 3 for their next 8, which still yields a respectable percentage. If the team can get to a point where this kind of output from three is a bit more of a threat….hey, there’s a record skipping around here somewhere…
Thing four: Tayshaun Prince. Has he just been more injured than he and the team have let on? That dunk was, uh, not like a Prince of 2014 move. More like a Prince in Wildcat Blue move, and it was glorious. His energy level was likely increased by being back in the Palace, and we’ll see if he’s able to continue his current upward trend as the days and weeks unfold. Fifteen points on eleven shots and some old-time “he’s just everywhere” activity from Prince was good to see.
Thing five: Leuer. His first-half output kept the team in the game…although it could be said that the Pistons made their run to gain a five-point halftime lead when Leuer was on the floor. He didn’t have as great an impact in the second half (partly due to ZBo’s and Koufos’ RESOUNDING impact), and his last seven points were garbage-gained, but his value to the team is high in Gasol’s absence.
Thing six: The bench in general. Over fifty points again, with some just absolutely stellar defense and rebounding in the second half, with the team holding Detroit to a paltry 28 points over the entire second half. Huge.
Thing seven: Victory, and it was probably at least partially due to the Pistons’ game crew choice of “Good Vibrations” from Marky Mark (and don’t forget that funky bunch) at the TO when the Grizzlies went up 86-70. Ok, that wasn’t it, but that couldn’t have helped the home team. Of special note was that the Grizzlies were, for once, the team who made the halftime adjustments and ran away in the second half.
Special note: Seth Curry begins his NBA career with a FOUR TRILLION! Can’t say much about what he did or didn’t do in only four garbage-y minutes, but he did appear to know where to put himself, and he appeared to know that he needed to keep himself and the ball moving. It’s a start.
2-1 on the road trip…but it surely stings that it could easily have been a second road trip sweep for the Grizzlies this season. The team needs to keep up the rebounding effort..as they say, it doesn’t get any easier from here.