Week 22 Results
Week 22 Storylines
-G Mike Conley was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of 3/4-3/10. In that week, he averaged 31.3 PPG on .574/.556/.786 shooting and 7.7 APG while going 3-0.
-The Grizzlies’ hot streak was a little too hot, so this week put them back in their place with 2 consecutive losses going 0-2 on the week.
-Required Reading: Two on the conveying front: GBB’s McCarty Maxwell takes a look at the schedule and looks to find whether Memphis can play their way out the top-8 of the lottery and GBB’s Justin Lewis argues that it might not be the worst thing in the world to keep the pick this year. In fact, it might actually be a good thing. | While the trade feels inevitable, GBB’s Joe Mullinax makes the case for keeping Mike Conley and how he can still be extremely valuable to a rebuilding franchise.
Week 22 Thoughts
-CJ Miles scoring 33 points is objectively good, but you can’t rely on that to win, really. It’s more of a bonus for when your starters are also decent. They weren’t decent though, which is most likely how and why they lost to the Hawks. That and getting absolutely destroyed on the boards.
-Atlanta won the rebounding battle 51-35, and offensive rebounds 15-9. You absolutely need the extra chances that rebounds give your team when you aren’t going to shoot too well (.507 effective field goal percentage) and taking those chances away from a hot shooting team in the Hawks. Trae Young, John Collins, and Alex Len all ate very well on Wednesday night.
-I’ll always be happy with Kevin Huerter doing well only because I went to school with him. Other than that, kick rocks, and/but congratulations. Alex Len was there before I went, so he can just exclusively kick rocks without a single congratulation.
-Mike Conley has been playing his ass off. Enough to boost his trade value and help our conveying hopes alive. We stan a legend. By the way, Conley’s numbers since the report of Marc Gasol’s and his “talk” with Robert Pera (Jan. 18): 22.2 PPG, 6.9 APG, .602 TS%. All three would be career-highs if he averaged them for a season. If he is indeed getting traded this summer, some team is getting an amazing player.
-Only Memphis could shoot 53.3% from the field and post a 127.3 offensive rating in a game and still lose to another lottery team.
-Bobby Portis totally plays like a guy that would punch a teammate in the face an I mean that as a compliment. He is a force when he gets going. He was also handed every single easy shot on a silver platter Saturday night.
-Memphis allowed 133.5 points per game this week. An offensive rating of 132.4. Sickening.
-This issue has been masked by the relative spurts of winning lately, but I still don’t understand Bickerstaff’s rotation experiments. Bruno Caboclo earned a start on Saturday...but played 6 and a half minutes. Tyler Dorsey played nearly 12. All 11 active players logged minutes as well, which is usually pre-season/early regular-season tactics to get all of your guys in shape. If someone can explain it to me, please do.
-Jonas Valanciunas’ Beale Street Blue hand-wrap is 2019’s hottest accessory.
Memphis is still at the 6 spot, 3 slots in the standings away from conveying the pick to Boston.
More space has grown between Memphis at 6 and Atlanta at 5, so that is looking more and more unrealistic for Memphis to attain a top-5 pre-lottery spot. On the other side, Dallas (whose pick goes to Atlanta) and New Orleans are hot on the Grizzlies’ tail. Just a single game separates 6th Memphis, 7th Dallas, and 8th New Orleans. In fact, the space between 5th and 6th (4.5 games) is as large as the space between the 6th and 13th spots.
Week 23 Schedule and Preview
Houston Rockets @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Mar. 20th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Orlando Magic Fri. Mar. 22nd 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies Sat. Mar. 23rd 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT
A tough, but fair slate of games for this week. No gimmes, not that Memphis is guaranteed to win those anyway.
Houston sits atop of the highly competitive second-tier of the Western Conference. Below Denver and Golden State, but (at the moment) above teams like Portland, Oklahoma City, and Utah. They just might be the league’s hottest team, 11-1 in their last 12 games and looking a lot like the team from last year that gave the Warriors everything they could handle in the conference finals. James Harden is still averaging an absurd 36.1 PPG and has shown Memphis firsthand how easy it is for him to pop off for 50 on a given night. As long as this isn’t one of those nights, this new look Memphis team can at least be competitive.
Memphis just recently played Orlando, with 12 days just separating their only two match-ups of the season. Memphis came out on top, but these two teams are lot more even, with Orlando better in a number of ways, than one would think. Memphis is 7th in defensive rating, Orlando is 9th. Orlando is 19th in net rating, Memphis is 25th. Orlando is also 3rd in defensive rebounding percentage while Memphis is 2nd-to-last in offensive rebounding percentage. Orlando won the rebounding battle last matchup 53-45 in a loss, so we could be due for a correction.
Finally, Minnesota comes into Memphis firmly out of the playoff hunt, but not quite in the dire straits that Memphis find themselves in. However, these two teams have played as close as you could get this season. After a 12-point Memphis victory in November, they’ve played two games since, both decided by 2 points and both teams winning and losing one. Truthfully, I have no read on what to expect from the Timberwolves, especially with an interim coach. Here’s hoping Memphis can at least take advantage of their poor defense.
Have a good week, Memphis.