Pistons-Grizzlies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 03, 2012
The Memphis Grizzlies are surging, and their upcoming schedule could help keep it that way. Rudy Gay looks to continue pacing the Grizzlies as they seek their eighth win in nine games Saturday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons. Memphis (21-15) has won three straight and nine of 11 after dropping seven of the previous nine. "I've been on enough teams where we're just playing to play and this team isn't like that," Gay said. "We're actually trying to go out there and be aggressive and get Ws." The wins could keep coming with the Grizzlies' next three games against teams outside playoff position, and over an eight-day period. After hosting Detroit (12-25), Memphis visits Golden State on Wednesday before a stop in Phoenix next Saturday. The Grizzlies haven't had much trouble with the Pistons of late, winning four in a row by an average of 13.0 points. They extended that run Jan. 20, winning 98-81 at Detroit behind a game-high 24 points from Gay. The forward wasn't nearly as effective in the most recent meeting in Memphis on Nov. 24, 2010, making 6 of 17 field goals to finish with 17 points. Gay, though, is averaging 20.4 points while connecting on 9 of 21 3-pointers over the last 11 games. He had 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 102-99 victory at Toronto on Friday. "The biggest thing for us is our chemistry," guard Mike Conley said. "The way we're moving the ball and communicating on defense has just been phenomenal." Conley had 21 points and five assists against the Raptors, two days after getting 20 and 10 in a 96-85 win over Dallas. He had 14 points with 11 assists in the latest matchup versus the Pistons. The Pistons are looking to build on Wednesday's 109-94 victory over league-worst Charlotte. That was a major improvement a day after Tayshaun Prince said the team was "still on vacation" after a 97-68 loss to Philadelphia in its first game after the All-Star break. "I think we clearly invested more in (Wednesday's) game than we did (against the 76ers)," coach Lawrence Frank said. "We all knew what happened, but we put that behind us and we made progress. That's the important thing for us right now." Detroit will try to carry its momentum onto the road, where it has lost 14 of 17. The Grizzlies will have to contend with Pistons center Greg Monroe, who had 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against the Bobcats. Monroe leads Detroit with averages of 16.8 points and 10.1 boards, but he struggled shooting against Memphis in January. He made 4 of 12 from the field to finish with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie Brandon Knight had 22 points in that meeting, and is coming off Wednesday's 20-point effort after being limited to eight against Philadelphia.
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