The NBA Schedule has recently been released, and no fan is exposed to NBA media without hearing fans complain, celebrate, or analyze. Grizzlies fans are not exempt from the discussion, as the schedule displays ups and downs that highlight rivalries and former playoff matchups.
If you want to see a summary of the schedule for our Grizz, see Chris Faulkner's original schedule synopsis piece.
Your staff writers and contributors here at Grizzly Bear Blues decided to sound off on the schedule. The roundtable is nothing too in-depth, just four soft questions to give readers and fans an idea of what we see going forward. Featured in the discussion is managing editor Kevin Lipe and staff writers Matt Hrdlicka, Keith Edwards, Chris Faulkner, Trisity Miller, Ryan Hoover ,and Andrew Ford. The discussions were prepared by myself, contributing editor Marcus Privitt. Check out the masthead for more information on us.
(Because we have so many contributors, I'm going to report four answers per question)
Marcus Privitt: Lets kick it off. First question is a pretty simple one: Right away, looking at the schedule, what catches your eye and what are your thoughts?
Kevin Lipe: Seems like that January/February stretch of a ton of back-to-backs is abnormal. Several back to backs strung together, with a couple of FOGAFINI's for good measure. That could get ugly if the team isn't in a good headspace going into that stretch.
Matt Hrdlicka: I find it interesting that the NBA schedule makers decided that each team should play 82 total games, and kept with the tradition of half at home, half on the road. On a serious note, the Grizzlies don't play Miami until March 21st. In the previous 2 seasons, that would have been a good thing, but Miami may have a few more teams breathing down their neck for the 1 see in the East at that time.
Keith Edwards: Back loaded road schedule. From March 12 to the end of the season is going to be a tough set of games for our boys. Also, we took a step backwards as far as national games go. I hate that. I don't ever want to be the Lakers or Yankees or Cowboys, but one (1) TNT game? Give me a break.
Trisity Miller: It's a shocker the league scheduled Memphis to play the LA Clippers only three times. Since the decimation of the Boston Celtics as we knew them, this may be the biggest team rivalry in the league at the moment. Getting four chances to see the Grizz play the Clips is fun to say the least.
MP: What 10 day stretch do you feel will reveal the most about the 2013-14 Grizzlies?
Ryan Hoover: March 30-April 16: This stretch definitely won't be the most telling, but it could be a wonderful launching pad into the playoffs. The Grizzlies finish up the season with 10 interesting games. 6 on the road and only 2 against legit title contenders. Depending on the outcome of Minnesota, Dallas, Portland and Denver's season, the other 8 games could be against tanking teams.
Andrew Ford: Starting March 21 at Miami running to Sunday, April 6th at San Antonio. They play five road games during that stretch, which is the most consecutive road games the Grizzlies have on the schedule. Also, there is a very real possibility that all ten of the teams the Grizzlies face will be in playoff contention. That's a tough haul to wind down the season, and everybody will be in better form since the season is well underway.
Chris Faulkner: I'm looking at April 6th-16th, the very end of the regular season where we will face last year's Finals contenders in the Heat and the Spurs. It will be interesting to see who is healthy, who is peaking, who is tired and who is playing with fire down the stretch. After starting that stretch with SAS and MIA, will the Griz take the foot off the gas for Philly, the Lakers, Phoenix and the Mavs? With an uber competitive Western Conference, those games could be critical to our playoff seeding.
KL: February 18 to February 28. Knicks and Clippers at home, at Charlotte, home against the Lakers and then at Oklahoma City. The Grizzlies, for the last couple of years, have a nasty habit of beating good teams and inexplicably dropping games against bad teams, especially on the road, especially on the road on the second game of a back-to-back. That Charlotte game might be meaningless, but not if the West is as tight as it was last year. That stretch will tell you where the team is at in February. If they're playing like every game is their last, or whether they've already got their sights set on the stretch run to the playoffs.
MP: What is the Grizzlies record at the halfway point? What is the record at the end?
CF: I've got them at 28-13 at the halfway point, finishing at 52-30.
KE: I've got them sitting at 31-20 at the break, stock piling wins in the first few months (I see them coming out of the gates at 10-4). I see us finishing with a record of 46-36, which I assume is good enough to make the playoffs. Bare in mind, I'm always very conservative when it comes to picking my favorite teams win/loss record, because I'd rather have not had enough faith than look like a total wanker for being a homer. We could easily hit 50 wins, but I think 46 is a smart bet.
MH: Halfway 30-11 and 57-25 final.
KL: Halfway point 27-14, final record 52-30. Could be 50 wins, could be 55. Anything in that range wouldn't surprise me, given the competitiveness of the West this year.
MP: Alright, final question. If you could pick any home game to attend at FedEx Forum, which game would you choose?
TM: The obvious selection is the return of Rudy Gay (November 13), but I'm going to select November 6 against the new-look New Orleans Pelicans. I'm completely enthralled with the idea of the team (I'm looking at Anthony Davis). They're a division "rival" who tends to give Memphis some problems in their ability to spread the floor. Who doesn't love Conley-Allen-Prince-Randolph-Gasol vs. Holiday-Gordon-Evans-Anderson-Davis?
RH: I would normally say any Thunder game here, but I've got one better this year. Houston, in the Grindhouse, seated next Mr. Keith G. Edwards would brighten my day for sure. In the words of an old, dear friend, "Heckle City, baby."
AF: Monday, December 30th against the Chicago Bulls. I can't wait for Derrick Rose's return, and I would really like to see him back at 100% in person. He is a site to behold. Also, I would love to see the Conley-Rose matchup after Conley has matured so much since the last time the two faced off. Another matchup that will be really fun is Marc Gasol versus Joakim Noah. Those are two of the top centers in the league facing off. Another aspect that interests me is the rest of Chicago's roster. In my opinion, they have a lot of intriguing players to watch.
CF: Friday, February 21st vs the Clippers, or Saturday, March 22nd vs the Pacers (duh! It's the day before my birthday!).