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Avoiding the Lakers: Trail Blazers 102, Grizzlies 89

It's tough to really read into last night's game against the Trail Blazers as Lionel Hollins decided to sit both Zach Randolph and Tony Allen in a fight for the 6th seed. It was pretty clear that Hollins had no intention of leap-frogging the Blazers and possibly setting his team up with a first-round date against the Lakers or the Thunder (who still has a chance to grab the 3rd seed).

You had to like a few things about last night's game, though. Even without Z-Bo the Grizz were able to out-rebound the Blazers on both ends of the court. We also got a chance to give our bench more of an opportunity to play against the Blazers "A" squad, which I was happy to see, especially since they competed for the first 40-42 minutes.

While the loss seemed a bit strategic, there is still a chance the Grizz could find themselves dancing with the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. We'll discuss after the jump.

As it stands, the Hornets and Grizzlies are tied at 46-35. The math form here is a simple, yet complicated -- go figure!

If the Hornets beat the Mavericks tonight in Dallas, they clinch the 7th seed, as they own the tiebreaker against the Grizzlies. Which also means, if both the Grizzlies and Hornets lose tonight, the Hornets lock up the 7th seed.

If Memphis wins (@ Clippers) and the Hornets lose, the Grizz become the 7th seed. With Randolph out tonight and Tony Allen (and maybe Marc Gasol?) likely out as well, it remains pretty clear that Hollins has no intention in chasing down the 7th seed. But that doesn't mean it won't happen.

The Hornets will most likely lose tonight to the Mavs. Mainly because Dallas still has something to play for. If they win, at the very least they clinch the 3rd seed. But, if they win and the Lakers lose in Sacramento they can jump into the 2nd seed -- giving them homecourt advantage against the Lakers should they meet in the 2nd round.

If the Mav lose and the Thunder win, Oklahoma City moves into the 3rd seed. So, as I said, I expect the Mavs to go all in tonight.

But what does this all mean for Memphis?

I think the Grizz are content with grabbing the 8th seed and taking on the Spurs in the first round. It seems a bit ridiculous to want to take on the best in the West, but we match up well against them. Our size can counter theirs, and Tony Allen will have an "easier" time as the defensive stopper against Manu Ginobili than he would against Kobe Bryant. I know the Andrew Bynum injury changes things a little, but the Lakers are still bigger and more athletic in the paint than we are. The Spurs, a notch below.

Sure, we'd also like to have our hand at bringing down the Mavs, but it's a little worrisome to think that winning and jumping the Hornets would set us up for a date with Dallas. Not with the Lakers set to defeat the Kings tonight. I expect the Lakers to rest tonight, but not at the expense of losing.

Now, we watch. The game last night did not reveal much of the Grizzlies' identity -- while we rebounded well, we did not play great post offense nor did we play great defense, failing to close the passing lanes. It seems like in tonight's game we won't really show our hand either. 

The uncertainty of our opponent has Grizzlies fans on the edge of our seat, but you have to admit that it's pretty damn fun and refreshing to know that we're at Game 82 and still paying attention. Huzzah!

- Blazer's Edge awaits their opponent as well.

- Clips Nation has all your Clipper needs!