NBA-leading Grizzlies do battle with Pistons

The Memphis Grizzlies put the NBA's best record on the line Friday night when they host the Detroit Pistons at the FedExForum.

The Grizzlies have been awesome this season. After their eight-game winning streak was snapped by the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 19, Memphis has won three in a row, all at home. Friday night's contest will wrap up a five-game stint in Tennessee.

The Grizzlies beat teams in different ways every night. They are seventh in the league in scoring and have surpassed 100 points in two of these three straight wins.

Memphis ranks second in opponents' scoring and has not allowed 100 points in a game since the season opener in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Halloween.

The latest victim was the Toronto Raptors, who fell in Memphis, 103-82. The Grizz owned a one-point halftime lead, then won the third quarter, 33-14 to essentially end this one early.

"Our defense was overwhelming in the third quarter. It was just outstanding," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said.

Zach Randolph had 17 points and 13 rebounds, while center Marc Gasol also had 17. Mike Conley returned from the flu with 16 points and five assists and the Grizzlies as a team matched their highest output of the season with 28 helpers on 38 made baskets.

Would it shock you to learn the Pistons are over .500 since starting the season 0-8? Detroit is 5-3 in its last eight and offensively, the improvement has been staggering.

The Pistons averaged 99.1 ppg and shot 48.2 percent from the field over the last eight. Over the first eight, Detroit averaged 91.3 ppg and shot 41.9 percent.

Defense has improved as well. During the opening losing streak, the Pistons allowed 101.5 ppg and during this 5-3 run, just 93.5 ppg.

The Pistons have won their last four at home, including a 40-point throttling of the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night, 117-77.

"A lot of good play from a lot of good guys," coach Lawrence Frank said. "You don't have a lot of games like this, but obviously a lot of bright spots that we've got to keep on building on.

"We've started to put together better play at home, now we have to take the show on the road against two of the better teams, one that's arguably the best team in the Western Conference."

That would be the Grizzlies, but the other is the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Memphis has won five straight against the Pistons, who have lost the last two on the road in this series, but won five straight in Memphis prior to that.