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Grizzlies Must Find Offense to be a Threat in the West

Zach RandolphHow frustrating must it be to win seven games in a row, have won eight of your last ten, yet still trail the team you are chasing by six and a half games? Welcome to the life and time of the Memphis Grizzlies who might be the best second place team in any division.

While the Grizzlies went 8-2 so did the San Antonio Spurs who are continuing an impressive streak that has seen them win 17 of their last 19 games. Memphis is getting it done on both ends of the court, but especially on defense where they are second in the league in points allowed with 89.6 points per game.

During their current winning streak, the Griz have allowed just 87 points per game. The Grizzlies are also getting it done on the glass. Over the seven-game streak, either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph has been the game’s leading rebounder. I sometimes view the Grizzlies as the ‘Indiana Pacers of the Western Conference.’ That is in no way a put-down either. Both teams play excellent team defense, but both have one major issue and that is scoring points at the other end.

While the Pacers are 26th in scoring, the Grizzlies are 27th and while I believe Memphis might be a little more talented, I feel the Pacers have a better chance to get through their conference. If the playoffs started today, Memphis would be a four-seed and would face Denver. Should they win that, they’d most likely play top seed San Antonio and then probably Oklahoma City.

Indiana would be a two-seed and would face Boston then the Knicks and then the Heat. By no means would the Pacers have an easy road, but considering their lack of scoring I’d their chances versus the chances of Memphis who will have to score out West with so many high-scoring teams.

Obviously fans of the Grizzlies will probably wonder what might have been with the team shipping leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto earlier this season in a cost-cutting move but that’s not much that can be done now. Memphis will be a difficult out in the Western Conference playoffs but I think their lack of scoring will come back to haunt them in the end.

Harden and Lin

Harden and Lin are getting it done on offense but need to get more defensive in a big way.

Trailing the Grizzlies in the Southwest is Houston and the Rockets have no problem socring the basketball and all kinds of problems stopping teams with it. Houston is second in the NBA in scoring, 10th in rebounding and 4th in assists but is 29th in the league in scoring defense where they give up 103.5 points per game.

Houston has six guys scoring in double figures right now led of course by James Harden who pours in 26.4 points per game. Jeremy Lin leads in assists and steals, but this is a team that just doens’t play a whole lot of defense and they don’t exactly apologize for it either. The Rockets currently have the eight and final playoff spot in the West by three games over the LA Lakers who many think will catch the Rockets.

I for one don’t, but playing a little D in H-Town would help the situation for sure.

Games this week in the Southwest

Phoenix at San Antonio – The Spurs are 22-2 at home. Phoenix is dead last in the West. Take the Spurs who are happy to be home after a nine-game roadie.

Dallas at Houston – The Rockets can start protecting their eighth seed position by protecting their home court against all comers. Take the Rockets over rival Dallas.

Memphis at Orlando – The Grizzlies are 15-10 on the road while the Magic are well below .500 at home. Go with Memphis and don’t look back.


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