Alright. I'm courtside at FedExForum where we're about 25 minutes from the launch of festivities (but hopefully not Festivus).
Allen Iverson is not listed on the active roster tonight but was out shooting a few minutes ago and looked pretty good. GM Chris Wallace suggested earlier today that he would likely debut on the upcoming road trip.
I will be live-blogging tonight's game, so check back here throughout the evening as the Griz try to get off to a good start.
Let's do this.
Looks like Villanueva will start for the Pistons, so we'll get a look at that match-up with Randolph early.
Sam Young is dressed and shooting around, so it looks like he'll play. With Iverson out and Jaric in the wilderness, the Griz need him.
Your officials for tonight: Eddie F. Rush, Bennie Adams, and Joe Forte. I expect much less coaching rage (from both benches) than we saw in the preseason.
A typically nice job by the Grizzlies video production staff on the pre-game presentation. Now DJ Paul and Juicy J doing "Stay Fly" to set up the intros. Great single, dunno about it in this context, but it is funny to see Marc Gasol give Paul and Juicy a respectful head nod after taking the court.
Almost ready for the tip now.
Mike Conley alley-oop pass to Rudy Gay doesn't connect to start, but Rudy kickout to Conley for open three does. Those two need to establish better chemistry, so the interaction early is good.
Villanueva trying to guard Marc Gasol and Grizzlies exploiting it with some high-low action from Randolph to Gasol, another good sign.
Griz get Villanueva two quick fouls and send him to the bench. Kwame Brown in.
Ben Gordon with 15 points on 5-6 shooting in 11 minutes off the bench. Griz have given up 12 points on 7 turnovers and are down 29-39 with 5:52 to go in the half. Will the early offensive cohesiveness hold up with a deficit or will individual players start trying to take over themselves?
Pistons living off offensive rebounds and free throws to keep it close, 10-9, but Griz are clearly the more talented team out there.
Griz down 12-13 at first timeout. Shooting and moving the ball well, but just need to settle down and clean up the little stuff — getting hurt on turnovers and defensive rebounding.
Randolph with two fouls and Steven Hunter is your first Grizzlies substitution of the season.
Marc Gasol gets his second foul on a very questionable call that results in a Ben Gordon four-point play. Three starters now with two early fouls (also Randolph and Conley). Marcus Williams and Thabeet in. Griz down 16-18.
Having some tech issues and may or may not be able to blog again until the second half.
Rough stretch for O.J. Mayo — 0-1 after 10 minutes, has three straight foul-ups, consecutive missed shots at the rim and a wild alley-oop to Rudy gets broken up.
Ben Gordon floater ends quarter with Griz down 20-24. Griz -3 on turnovers, -4 on offensive boards, and -7 on free-throw attempts. I'm looking for DeMarre Carroll to change the tone in the second quarter.
DeMarre Carroll in the game — guarding Rip Hamilton.
Hamilton has hit two jumpers on Carroll. Tough assignment for him in his first NBA minutes. But he did save an errant ball with a tip pass to Thabeet, who was fouled. Thabeet will go to the line to try for his first NBA points.
Sam Young about to make his debut.
Randolph finally starting to do work on the offensive boards and the Grizzlies, after zero off. boards in first quarter now have 5. Down 27-34.
Full starting unit in. The bench in the first half? 2 points on 1-7 shooting. Get better soon, AI.
It was a backcourt annihilation in the first half. Stuckey/Hamilton/Gordon: 38 points on 15-25 shooting. Mayo/Conley/Williams for Grizzlies: 10 points on 4-13 shooting. Griz down 41-53 at the half. Adjustment time.
Seeing signs of more one-on-one play after the deficit, which I suspected. This is not as big of a problem if guys still trust each other (which looks sketchy) and recognize the right match-ups. Gasol going at an overmatched Villanueva on the block for a three-point play is right play.
Griz starting frontcourt playing well, but getting no help from backcourt or bench. This is not a news flash, but while Thabeet certainly has a chance to be something, he's not on the same planet as Marc Gasol right now.
DeMarre Carroll is in and has had both shot attempts blocked by Villanueva. Not in the Big 12 anymore.
Griz down 17 now and Haddadi coming in. Not sure what to make of that.
Haddadi catches and flushes a pass from Mayo. I don't think he could have done that so fluidly a year ago. Ensuing Conley steal and drive suggest momentum switch, but Carroll couldn't finish the layup. A rough start for a rookie who looked so good in Summer League and preseason.
End of quarter, Griz down 57-71. Griz with 8 assists to 12 turnovers and starting backcourt shooting 3-12. Bench now with 4 points thanks to Haddadi dunk.
Griz down 57-79 with 10:16 to go. All the starters in. It's about pride at this point. Let's see what they can do.
Announced attendance tonight: 17,212
Griz down 23 with 5 minutes to go. I'm shutting down the live blog and going to start working on my post-game three pointer. Look for that later tonight (or in the morning for most of you.) Thoughts on Allen Iverson, Marc Gasol, and O.J. Mayo forthcoming.