Memphis Grizzlies Playoff Preview; First Round vs. San Antonio Spurs
With the 2016 NBA playoffs now underway, let’s take a look at this year’s Memphis Grizzlies Playoff Preview.
The Memphis Grizzles used their grit-and-grind approach to somehow make the playoffs, yet again. They grit-and-grinded their way to a 42-40 record, despite losing their two leading scorers, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, to injuries.
How are the Grizzlies rewarded for their effort and dedication to making the playoffs for the sixth straight season? A matchup with the 67-15 San Antonio Spurs, who finished with the best record in franchise history and unlike the Grizzlies, are in near-perfect health.
Considering all the team’s injuries, in which they set the NBA record in how many different players they had to play this season, making the playoffs alone has to be considered a success for the Grizzlies. Winning a game, or two, against the Spurs would feel like a HUGE accomplishment.
The Grizzlies’ offense fell off tremendously after losing the likes of Conley and Gasol. After the All-Star break, Memphis shot just 47 percent from the field, the second-worst mark in the league and just ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Zach Randolph is the 34-year-old bruiser who has helped define this franchise’s identity over the past seven seasons. Randolph spent time coming off the bench for Joerger’s group earlier in the season, but injuries forced him back into a more prominent role.
In the team’s last 15 games, Randolph averaged 19 points and seven rebounds per game. The second-leading scorer during that span for the Grizzlies was Lance Stephenson, the same guy who couldn’t even get off the bench in Los Angeles.
Vince Carter, at age 39, has no business starting for a playoff team, but here he is. He has caught fire a bit in the last 13 games however, shooting 46.2 percent on three-pointers for a team that desperately needs some shooting.
Carter doesn’t move like a 39-year-old and still has enough left in the tank to make a difference. Vince hasn’t mentioned retirement yet. Most likely, this is his final playoff appearance.
More Questions Than Answers
The Grizzlies have pulled off a big upset before, as they did in 2011 when they became only the second eighth seed in NBA history to win a first round playoff series. Their opponent? None other than the San Antonio Spurs. Can the Grizzles pull off an upset for the ages? Probably not, but that’s why they play the games.
The best case scenario for the Grizzlies is winning two games against the Spurs – notice how I didn’t say win the series. I know the history of these two teams, and that the Grizzlies have upset the Spurs from the 8th seed before. But that was a different – and injured – Spurs team. And the Grizzlies are certainly not as talented.
(Memphis Grizzlies Playoff Preview)