There is a laundry list of reasons to like the Memphis Grizzlies’ chances of winning Saturday night.
They are on an 18-game regular-season home win streak, they have beaten the Detroit Pistons nine straight times and their opponents will be coming to Tennessee on the heels of a draining overtime victory the night before.
The Grizzlies, however, are wary after being forced to post the greatest comeback in franchise history in their last contest as they seek to become the first NBA team to reach nine victories.
Memphis (8-1) is tied with Houston for the league’s best record, though it needed to rally from 26 points down for Thursday’s 111-110 home victory over Sacramento. Courtney Lee converted a reverse layup at the buzzer to cap the best comeback in club annals.
”There’s not a lot words. That’s a fantastic effort to get back in that game to be down like we were,” said guard Mike Conley, who had 22 points and 11 assists. ”It looked grim to be honest.”
The heroic effort overshadowed an awful start in which the Grizzlies trailed 33-8 nine minutes into the contest, a beginning that has served as a wake-up call.
"I think it’s a lesson learned but at the same time, I think it’s great for us to kind of get the experience and understand what it takes and the level of focus that it takes," veteran guard Vince Carter said.
Memphis has not lost a regular-season home game since a 110-96 defeat to Dallas on Feb. 5. The Grizzlies last fell to Detroit (3-6) in a 96-74 loss in their 2009-10 season opener.
The Pistons seek to split a four-game swing after ending a three-game skid with their first road win, 96-89 in OT over Oklahoma City on Friday. Brandon Jennings scored 25 of his 29 points after halftime to continue his personal surge.
The guard is averaging 23.8 points on 50.8 percent shooting over his last four games.
"We’ve got 73 more to go, but this is a good feeling to get a win on this road trip," he told the Pistons’ official website. "But we’re about to go play a team, Memphis, that’s one of the best teams in the Western Conference. So we can’t celebrate too much. We’ve got to get ready for the next one."
Jennings may have trouble finding the range Saturday. He is averaging 17.8 points on 33.3 percent shooting in his last five games against Memphis – all losses for his teams.
Andre Drummond grabbed 15 boards to help Detroit to a 55-42 edge over the Thunder on the glass. That’s a concern for the Grizzlies, who were outrebounded 44-30 by a Kings team that leads the NBA in rebound margin at plus-9.2.
"We’re going to see another athletic, active, offensive rebounding team and a big team with size in Detroit in another home game, another opportunity to keep rolling," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said.