WHEN: 9:30 PM CT
WHERE: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Kyle Anderson (Out, shoulder), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, thigh), Avery Bradley (Out, shin), C.J. Miles (Out, foot), Dillon Brooks (Out, toe), Joakim Noah (Out, knee)
LOS ANGELES: Luc Mbah a Moute (Out, knee), Danilo Gallinari (day-to-day, ankle)
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Tyler Dorsey, Mike Conley, Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, Jonas Valanciunas
LOS ANGELES: Patrick Beverly, JaMychal Green, Ivica Zubac, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet
The reality is that the end of the regular season only means something for a handful of teams. For a select few, there could be home court advantage on the line. Perhaps there could be a late playoff push that comes down to the difference of one or two games to close out the season. For Memphis, there’s a strong push to convey the first round pick they owe to the Boston Celtics. The Grizzlies have played well enough in the second half of the season to make the conversation around that pick relevant again.
With a win last night against the Phoenix Suns, Memphis is now just one game back of the ninth place New Orleans Pelicans. There is only six games left in the season, the last game of March being on the road tonight at the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers have been pleasantly surprising this year. They will end the year around 15 games over .500, much better than anyone expected. For a change, they have also stayed out of the spotlight of drama that they tend to demand, and even Patrick Beverley has seemed less annoying than usual. The Clips still have a small chance at getting home court in the first round of the Playoffs, but are more concerned about falling out of the sixth seed. They are just 1.5 games up from the eighth seed.
Some playoffs teams may rest players toward the final stretch of games, this could include the Clippers. I don’t see them doing anything drastic toward resting, but may see Memphis as an easy game to take a day off. The seeding in the Western Conference can change so much in just two games that the Clips will need to win this game, they will make for a good matchup of the young Grizzlies.
Mike Conley looks like he is having fun again, averaging over 25 points in his last 10 games. The young guns of this team also have shown much potential to close out the season, and basketball has a new spark in Memphis. No matter who they are playing it seems like the Grizzlies will keep it close. The Clips will come out guns blazing, with a fast pace and nagging defense. Look for ways this young Grizzlies team can control the pace and pick a part a team oriented Clips defense.
The biggest problem of the new look Grizzlies is the lack of defensive intensity. This team scores a lot of points, which is always more fun to watch, yet they give up even more points. The pace has drastically increased and the role players have become legitimate scorers, but the defense is pitiful. The Clippers already play at a blazing pace, so this could get ugly in a hurry.
Clippers 121, Memphis 114