Apr 10, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) talks with guard Nick Calathes (12) during the second half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Memphis won 89-88. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Memphis Grizzlies:
Record: 54-25 / Last ten: 6-4/ Conference Record: 35-15
Southwest Division: 1st Western Conference: 2nd
Memphis lucked out Friday when Utah’s Gordon Hayward missed his free throw to tie the game. That allowed the Grizzlies to capture a 1-point victory and subsequently retain the Southwest Division lead and second seed for the moment. Holding a 54-25 record the Grizzlies next 3 games feature the Clippers and Golden State on the road and they’ll finish at home versus the Pacers.
If there is an area where the Rockets can hold out hope of reclaiming home court, it is with Memphis. The Grizzlies and Clippers have one of the more touted rivalries so expect the Clippers to be keyed up to capture a victory tonight. Memphis enters having played in Utah last night to complete their back-to back likely on tired legs from the thin air of Utah. Conversely the Clippers weren’t just idle Friday, they’ve been off since Tuesday.
Their next game will occur at Oracle Arena where the Warriors have lost just 2 games all season and will be inspired to show Memphis what they can expect should they end up facing each other in the later rounds of the post season. Normally, I’d say that wasn’t a possibility, but given the Spurs beat the Warriors last week rather handily the Warriors responded with a solid showing versus Portland as they don’t want West teams thinking they’ve slipped an iota entering the post season. Then factor in the heated debate over Stephen Curry vs. James Harden for the MVP race and it points to the Warriors wanting to keep on the roll they’ve held all season.
The Grizzlies final game is at home versus Indiana and will feature a desperate Pacer squad looking to make the playoffs. Paul George’s return has buoyed the Pacers who’ll need some help to make the post season and are aching for a rematch versus the Hawks who they would have an outside chance of beating given Indy’s front court size.
Prior to game start Wednesday it’s possible the Pacers will have been eliminated given the current 7th (Boston) and 8th (Brooklyn) seeds hold the series tie break over Indy and both have a 1 game cushion.
For this game to have playoff implications the following needs to occur:
- Indy need to win at least one of their games vs OKC or Washington
- AND Brooklyn need to lose 2 of 3 to Milwaukee, Chicago or Orlando
- OR Boston need to lose 2 of 3 to Cleveland, Toronto or Milwaukee
Obviously any of these things can occur and as a Rockets fan you should be hoping it does so the Pacers are desperate to win and play that way. Notably as good as the Grizzlies have been all year it’s very feasible they could lose all 3 remaining games!
Playoff seeding and first round possibilities:
Memphis could end up in a couple different seeds depending on these final 3 games. In the event of a tie versus the teams seeded 3 through 6 they have the edge versus Houston, San Antonio and Portland (given their better conference record and season series record over Portland) and a win tonight in Los Angeles would also give them the tie break over the Clippers or if they win the Division.
The exception is if Memphis loses to the Clippers, doesn’t win the division and it comes down to the division record where the Clippers hold a better record. It’s an outside chance, but still a possibility. Which means Memphis could finish in the two, three, five or six seed and could play any of the teams currently ranked 3 through 7 (San Antonio, Portland, Clippers, Houston or Dallas).
Looking at the games the Spurs, Clippers and Grizzlies have on tap it’s likely Memphis will lose at least one game (I believe they’ll lose 2 of their final three) which would give the Spurs the Division and 2 seed. Much depends on who wins tonight on where Memphis ends up. It’s a good bet Golden State will win given their home record and it’s also a good bet the Clippers should win given how rested they are entering tonight’s contest.
I’m thinking Memphis will finish with either 54 or 55 wins and subsequently the fifth or sixth seed. Once again the game versus Indy on Wednesday may end up having huge implications for both teams.
The schedule literally did Memphis no favors with LA being on 4 days rest and then having to play at Oracle. I can easily see Memphis falling to the 6 seed for this reason and playing either Houston or the Clippers. Keep reading and you’ll discover where I’m placing my bets!
Best Position Grizzlies can finish: 57-25: Southwest Division Winner, second seed
Worst Position Grizzlies can finish: 54-28: Sixth
Next: Betting on the repeat