Pistons vs Grizzlies Game Preview - Jan. 20, 2012
The Memphis Grizzlies have been getting off to outstanding starts during their season-high four-game winning streak.
Another one could be too much for the low-scoring Detroit Pistons to overcome.
The Grizzlies try to win back-to-back road games for the first time in nearly a year Friday night when they face a Pistons team looking to avoid its first five-game home losing streak since 2009-10.
Since dropping a season-worst three in a row, Memphis (7-6) has averaged 54.8 points and shot 56.3 percent in the first half during its surge. Opponents are scoring 42.8 points and hitting 39.7 percent from the field during this stretch.
"The veterans that are here are starting to get it and figure it out, so it's important that we do get off to a good start when we're on the road," said coach Lionel Hollins, whose team built a 55-48 halftime lead in a 93-87 victory at New Orleans on Wednesday.
Forward Rudy Gay and center Marc Gasol have done much of the first-half heavy lifting during the winning streak. Gay has made 24 of 33 field goals and scored a team-best 13.3 points in the opening 24 minutes during the run, while Gasol is averaging 9.8 points with 6.0 rebounds before halftime.
Their strong play has been critical in the Grizzlies going 6-3 since Zach Randolph suffered a torn MCL on Jan. 1.
Memphis is also getting strong production from 3-point range from O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley. Mayo has hit 11 for 17 from beyond the arc over the last five games, while Conley is 6 for 11 in the last three.
The solid all-around play has Memphis a season-best one game above .500. The Grizzlies haven't won two straight away from home since Jan. 28 and Feb. 2, but they'll go for a fourth consecutive road victory in this series following a 107-99 win Jan. 12, 2011.
Detroit (3-12), loser of nine of 10 overall, has dropped three straight to Memphis. The Pistons, averaging a league-low 85.0 points, haven't dropped five in a row on their home court since March 16-April 2, 2010.
They may need to improve their fourth-quarter play if they don't want to equal that mark. Detroit was outscored 29-14 in the final 12 minutes of a 93-85 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday and has been outscored by 25 in the fourth during its three-game skid.
"We have to understand late in games what we have to do to win," said guard Tayshaun Prince, who finished with a season-high 29 points Wednesday.
Giving more touches to Prince could help the Pistons get back on track. He is scoring 23.0 points and shooting 51.7 percent per game during the slide.
Second-year center Greg Monroe had 14 points and 11 boards in the Grizzlies' last visit to Detroit on Nov. 24, 2010, becoming the first Pistons rookie since Terry Tyler in 1978 to post four consecutive double-doubles.
Pistons guard Ben Gordon scored a team-high 25 points and hit four 3-pointers last Jan. 12.