The Memphis Grizzlies currently sit atop of the NBA’s Southwest division. A division that is proving to be one of the best in NBA history. A division that is threatening to send all 5 of its teams to the NBA playoffs. A division in which every team is at least 6 games over .500 with only 4 to go. Compare that to the Eastern Conference where 3 teams are going to make the playoffs with sub .500 records.
Photo Credit: YouTube
While the Grizzlies are narrowly leading this beast of a division, they have not been at their best as of late. Going 14-11 since the All-Star break without being able to exactly pinpoint the root of their recent issues. This team took the league by storm early in the year being dubbed the best team in the NBA by Siri mobile service on multiple occasions. For Memphis fans…thats just cool. But just like it has been hard to determine how they were so dominant early in the year, it is now just as much of a head scratcher as to why they have seem to lost their swag. They are still trying to figure out exactly who Jeff Green is and are dealing with a Tony Allen hamstring injury. Allen expects to be back in time for the playoffs but the Grizz will most likely not rush him back until then, despite what is at stake in these last 4 games.
So what is at stake exactly? The Grizzlies are 53-25, clearly going to the playoffs and currently claiming the 2 seed in the West. So why should they be concerned with the last 4 games of the season? That’s where the depth of the division comes into play. The Grizzlies have the same record as the Rockets but own the tiebreaker. So no room for error in these last 4 games because the difference in the 2 seed and the 3 seed could mean the difference in facing San Antonio in the first round. The Spurs are the team that nobody wants to play in the playoffs in any given year but particularly not now since they are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They are a half game behind Memphis & Houston so no one is safe at the moment. The Grizzlies could conceivably end up playing the Spurs in the first round… but as the 6th seed.
Photo Credit: Gameops.com
If there is a team built to persevere this tough grind of a division, it is the Memphis Grizzlies. After all they make their home a place called the grind house. And it will be a grind if they want to remain the 2 seed and avoid a first round matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies will be on the road for 3 in a row against the Jazz, Clippers and Warriors before closing out the season at home Wednesday night against Indiana. Not only are 3 of their last 4 on the road, those 3 games will take place over a 4 day span. Ideally the Grizzlies would like to claim the 2nd or 3rd seed while managing to avoid San Antonio in the first round. That way they would also avoid a Western Conference semifinal matchup with the NBA’s best team, the Golden State Warriors. On top of the 3 game road trip the Grizzlies are facing this late in the year, they have no remaining games against the Southwest division, so no opportunity to directly impact their chance of winning the division. NBA and Memphis Grizzly fans will be doing a lot of hoping, wishing and scoreboard watching over the next several days. One thing is for certain, if the Grizzlies pull it all together and survive the next few days, they will be battle tested and ready to start the 2015 NBA Playoffs.
Brandon covers the NBA for MyFantasySportsTalk.Com, you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
He is from Memphis and graduated from Arkansas State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. He loves the Memphis Tigers, Grizzlies, Titans, and Arkansas State Red Wolves.
“I promise to bring information, insight, and strong opinion. Let the debate begin.”
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @New_Breid