The Memphis Grizzlies play on Friday, Sunday and Monday. That leaves us with, oh, today to update where the Grizz stand in the Western Conference playoff picture. Come Tuesday things may look different, but Tuesday is just so far away, isn't it?
Make the jump to see where things stand, and to check in with those wild grizzlies and that poor, unprepared campsite.
Grizzlies' current record (as of 3/3): 34-28. Games left: 20.
Current standing in the Western Conference, and the teams we continue fending off: 8th (still!); a game and a half ahead of reconfigured Phoenix and Utah, three and a half games ahead of Goran Dragic's Houston Rockets.
Who we're looking up to in the standings, still in striking distance: New Orleans (we play them soon, right?) and Portland remain a half game ahead in the seventh and sixth spots, respectively. The recently offensively ridiculous Denver Nuggets are two games ahead in fifth place.
Where Professor Hollinger sees the Grizzlies out West: Currently 6th (Movin' on up from 7th last week). Projected: 46-36. Best case scenario: 54-28. Worst case scenario: 38-44. Chance for playoffs: A pretty assured feeling 84.1%.
Basically, everything went up here by a few games; the projected total had two more wins, best case had one, and worst case had two less losses. The chance of making the playoffs percentage went up by 11.8%, which seems like a pretty good week to me, especially when you look at the Hornets, Hollinger's current seventh place team odds-wise, who are only at 61.8%.
That should lend some confidence for the last 20 games, but, of course, things could still swing in any direction.
The Grizzlies' upcoming games: Tomorrow night versus the Hornets, Sunday night at Dallas, Monday versus Oklahoma City, Wednesday versus New York.
Friday's home date with New Orleans is a big chance to jump into the relatively safer seventh position. It's one that also could be coming at an advantageous time, as the Hornets are scuffling (current three-game losing streak; 3-7 in their last ten) and people are starting to worry about Chris Paul.
A Sunday/Monday night doubleheader with the Mavericks and Thunder is pretty brutal; one of those in which a split wouldn't look so bad and a sweep would be pretty freaking spectacular. Wednesday night against New York should be interesting in that no one, the Knicks included, know what to expect from that team as they frantically flip levers and push buttons towards trying to figure out which does what and who goes where.
Basically, we're into the teeth of it now. Three games against Western Conference playoff teams in four days and as a cherry on top, a matchup with a team that could blow up into 120 points on a given night. Should be fun. The Grizzlies, by playing the Spurs tough twice and dismantling them once, have set themselves up for more exposure opportunities. Now that they've got a recent one in their back pocket, the question becomes "What next?" and not "Maybe this time?"
If they're not careful, the Grizz will end up on everyone's "sleeper" list. Then, of course, all will be lost.
If the playoffs were a campsite, the Grizzlies, if they were wild grizzly bears: can see the site and smell the marshmallows roasting on an open fire. It's within growling distance, but there's still some trip left. Sure, these grizzlies can run, they just prefer being really deliberate about things. They also like knocking shit over, like small trees or deer stands, and that takes time. The bears ran into a group of experienced hikers who'd been in this neck of the woods before and knew the lay of the land. The bears batted most of them around like beach balls. A few of them, the fast ones, got away. Oh well, the grizzlies thought; next time.
Level of destruction: The hikers are probably happy to return to their respective granola cities for a little while, but the camp is really asking for it, wafting the scent of marshmallow in the air. Everyone knows grizzly bears love a good marshmallow.