In defeating the Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves last night, the Memphis Grizzlies kept up with their habit of doing what needs done against the league's lower, if not frisky, level teams. It's not something that should surprise anymore, but certainly shouldn't be taken for granted, either. The fact that we don't have a whole lot to say after a home game with the T'Wolves is a good thing.
The Grizzlies are humming right along, and, in the process have jumped the New Orleans Hornets by a half game for seventh place in the Western Conference playoff standings. This is where the situation gets weird, though; because we're not really sure if that's a good thing or not just yet.
More after jumping.
I guess, in assessing the Grizzlies' playoff outlook, one has to decide their level of worry when it comes to opponent. Does it matter at all? Are you just happy to be in the picture? Or, do you see a reeling Spurs team, a Mavericks team no one's too sure about, and a surging Laker unit, now only a game and a half out of the number one spot? And if you do note these differences, do you see which option is not like the others in terms of terrifyingness?
So that's where these final five games could turn into a game of hide-and-seek in plain sight. The one true refuge from having to worry about Los Angeles comes in the form of the sixth seed; otherwise, the attractiveness of the seventh and eighth spots depends a lot on who's showing up on the other side of the table. This isn't meant as a shot at the San Antonio Spurs, who, to my mind, have still been the overall best team in the West this season, it's just, well, the Lakers could really be rounding into serious form here, and if there's an opportunity to avoid that, then why wouldn't you?
But yeah: thanks to Friday's impressive win in New Orleans and trap avoidance last night at home, that sixth seed is close. Portland has it currently by a half game and, of course, the Grizz will have their shot at the Blazers in little over a week. Now, obviously you always want to climb the standings, as it means you're likely playing good ball; in this case however, there's just a little more behind getting to that next rung on the ladder.
Until then, the Clippers come back to town on Tuesday night for the second leg of our End of Season Clipper Triple Crown. If the Grizzlies keep up their current consistent, inspired, engaged play down the stretch -- against teams of every record level, mind you -- one could certainly make the case that they're one of the teams playing the best basketball heading into the postseason.
Another team in that conversation would be the Los Angeles Lakers. The sixth seed's in sight, guys; let's, uh, definitely try and get up there.