Today, we start our look at the Grizzlies’ home stretch. With the All Star break gone, we now move into March, the last full month of games before the playoffs.
If you want to check out the rest of our monthly season previews, you can find them here:
At the end of the month, Memphis will embark on a stretch of five games that includes a four game road trip. After a home game against the Spurs, Memphis will play: at New Orleans, at San Antonio, at Golden State, and at Sacramento. To make things worse, the last two of those games will be on back-to-back nights.
With April setting up as a tough challenge of its own to close out the season, Memphis will likely need to go 3-2 in these five games. With two games against the Spurs and a brutal west coast swing, that’s a tall task.
There’s a nice four game home stand to start the month off, as the Nets, Clippers, Hawks, and Bucks (now with Dellavedova!) come to visit the FedExForum. That four game stretch also includes zero back-to-back games. While the Clippers and the Hawks were both playoff teams last season, having them at home should give the Grizzlies an edge. Atlanta will also be without Al Horford, who left for Boston in the offseason.
It will also help that both the Hawks and the Clippers will be playing in the second game of a back-to-back matchup in their games in Memphis. That gives the Grizzlies a chance to play rested, which should give them a shot at a 4-0 record on that home stand.
The schedule for March is a little different than previous months. Where prior months either opened or closed with tough stretches (or, in the case of December, were tough throughout), March is something of a different animal. The schedule feels a little more balanced. Overall, I think that’s a good thing. The Grizzlies may have trouble sustaining a large win streak, but that also means that they shouldn’t go through a protracted slump, either.
Of the fifteen games, it’d be great to see Memphis take around nine games. More would be great, but I wouldn’t count on it unless they play much better than expected on that road trip. If they're only able to win eight or less, that’s going to be a problem. The playoffs are right around the corner, and they’d be giving themselves little room for error heading into April.