Southwest Conference Update: Week of 12/16-12/22
Dec 9, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger reacts to a call during the first half against the Orlando Magic at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs – Season Record: 21-6
Week of December 16th-December 22nd: 2-2
In what was a difficult week for the Spurs, they really shouldn’t be too disappointed with a 2-2 record. Tough losses to the Clippers and Thunder are nothing to worry about. The Clipper loss was in Los Angeles and the Thunder have a good history of playing in San Antonio. Three out of four games this week were on the road and wins at Phoenix and Golden State are games to be proud of. The win at Golden State is an especially solid win as the Spurs played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Kawhi Leonard contributed a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Newly added Marco Belinelli seems to finally be finding his groove with the team, averaging 22.5 points over the last two games. This upcoming week for the Spurs should certainly be easier than the previous one.
This Week: vs. Raptors, vs. Rockets, @ Mavericks, vs. Kings
Dallas Mavericks – Season Record: 15-12
Week of December 16th-December 22nd: 1-2
I’m not sure whether to believe in the Dallas Mavericks yet or not. They certainly started off the season well but have gone 2-4 over their last six games with their two wins coming against Memphis and Milwaukee, two of the worst teams in the NBA currently. An overtime loss to a Rudy Gay-less Toronto Raptors at home this week does not look good and neither does a blowout loss in Phoenix. Their defense is quite embarrassing right now. Sure Eric Bledsoe of the Suns is playing at an all-star caliber level, but that’s no excuse for Dallas to allow Phoenix to pour in 15 3-pointers against them on 50% shooting. Dirk Nowitzki, at the ripe young age of 35, is one of the few positive notes for the Mavericks currently, having scored over 20 points in eight of his last nine games. With a difficult week coming up, this could either jump start their season, or send Dallas into a downward spiral.
This Week: @ Rockets, vs. Spurs, @ Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans – Season Record: 11-14
Week of December 16th-December 22nd: 0-3
Three road games, three losses. With the caliber of team that they played against, I don’t think this is something the Pelicans should be too worried about. There is no shame in losing to the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trail Blazers. The Portland loss in particular was a promising game as they took the lead into halftime but just weren’t able to hang on to the lead, only losing by three. Five players scored in double-digits for the Pelicans that game. My boy Tyreke Evans, much to the joy of my fantasy team, finally seems to have found his place on this team. Anthony Davis is also playing at an all-star level without a doubt. Pelicans fans shouldn’t be too worried about this week of basketball as there are plenty of teams that would have gone winless with this schedule. However New Orleans needs to figure out how to pick up a few wins against elite teams if they want to wind up in the playoffs. This week provides some good tests to see where they are at.
This Week: @ Kings, vs. Nuggets, @ Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies – Season Record: 11-15
Week of December 16th-December 22nd: 1-2
The Grizzlies are bad. There is no other way to put it. They lost a close one to the Lakers to begin their week at home when Kobe Bryant was still playing. However Dallas completely beat them up Wednesday night, which is especially alarming since Memphis is usually the tougher team. They snapped a five game losing streak by beating the completely horrible New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Getting Mike Conley back may have been key for the victory and hopefully will help Memphis turn around their season. Zach Randolph is the lone bright spot on this team right now, averaging 16.4 points and 9.9 rebounds. I hate to make bold predictions only a fourth of the way through the season, however currently I don’t see the Grizzlies making the playoffs. Two home games this week may help the cause but Memphis has been pretty weak FedEx Forum, going 5-10 at home and 6-5 on the road. Dare I say rookie head coach Dave Joerger could be gone one season after Memphis had it’s best year in franchise history.