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Week-side Help: Week 24 - Endgame

As the season nears its close, the race to convey gets even tighter

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Week 24 Results

Oklahoma City Thunder 103 @ Memphis Grizzlies 115 (30-44) Recap | Box Score

Golden State Warriors 118 @ Memphis Grizzlies 103 (30-45) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 120 (31-45) @ Phoenix Suns 115 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 96 (31-46) @ Los Angeles Clippers 113 Recap | Box Score

Week 24 Storylines

-G Mike Conley now has the most points in Grizzlies’ franchise history. He surpassed Marc Gasol (11,684) against the Golden State Warriors.

-F/C Jaren Jackson Jr. and G/F Kyle Anderson were both ruled out for the remainder of the season with their respective injuries.

-The Grizzlies signed Memphis Hustle G Dusty Hannahs to a 10-day contract.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Parker Fleming looks at the Grizzlies’ affinity for passing big men and how the current roster embodies that skill. | GBB’s Site Manager Joe Mullinax on Mike Conley’s incredible career with the Memphis Grizzlies on the heels of his franchise record.

Week 24 Thoughts

-I have no idea how the Grizzlies beat the Thunder. The only reason I believe it happened is because I watched the game, but even then I’m not totally convinced it happened.

-Alright, basketball-reference.com says it happened, so I guess it really happened. How do you do that with no Mike Conley and a litany of other injuries? By scoring a boatload of points.

-All five starters scored at least 17 points each in an incredibly balanced attack. All starters took either 12, 13, or 14 shots. Nothing more, nothing less. Basketball socialism like that never works when you have All-Star talent (rightfully) getting a larger share of the touches, but when your starters are Tyler Dorsey, Delon Wright, Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, and Jonas Valanciunas, you’re probably more likely to share the ball and the usage. And to their credit, they stepped up when the bench scored just 17 points.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

-It was really cute when Memphis hung in there against Golden State, but it just couldn’t last. At least the game provided the awesome moment of Mike Conley surpassing Marc Gasol as the franchise’s points leader. Mike finishing his contract in Memphis seems like much less of a certainty than it did a year ago. Let’s enjoy these moments while we have them.

-Bruno Caboclo had himself his second-straight good game against a playoff team against Golden State, scoring 17 points and snagging 13 rebounds. JV had 27 and 13. Mike poured in 22 points. All that great play may not matter when KEVIN FREAKIN’ DURANT SHOOTS 92% (12-of-13) FROM THE FIELD. He was a +30 in a game the Warriors won by *only* 15.

-It was an encouraging game for Memphis, and Steph Curry had a relatively off night, and it still wasn’t enough for a win. They out-rebounded Golden State, committed less turnovers, but failed at that little thing of putting the ball in the hoop. They shot 39% from the field while Golden State shot 54%.

-Also, the end of the Golden State game provided the absolute most frustrating stretch of basketball-like actions I’ve ever seen. Just look at it:

-It’s a good thing that the Grizzlies got a really good Devin Booker game because it feels like the Suns are winless whenever he goes bonkers. Just this past week, Devin Booker logged scoring outputs of 59 points, 50 points, and 48 points. The Suns lost all three games. Basketball!

-Avery Bradley probably would have helped the Devin Booker problem at least a little bit. Maybe instead of 48 points, Book would have scored just 40, like some kind of bum.

-When Memphis traded Shelvin Mack for Tyler Dorsey, I was just happy to get rid of Shelvin Mack. Whatever a Tyler Dorsey was, it was just icing on the cake for me. But he’s turned out to be good enough to really earn his playing time, whether or not he was going to be forced into action thanks to the glut of injuries. He may be a steady hand as a 3rd-string PG in the future, if he’s still in Memphis, but you can see him getting more comfortable and improving some traits as he starts more games.

-The first quarter of Grizzlies-Clippers looked like Texas Tech-Michigan in the Sweet 16. Good grief that was ugly. A 6-of-18 shooting performance by Memphis was saved by Memphis going 7-of-7 on free throws in the frame. It at least kept Memphis in the game.

-In case you were wondering, it did not get any better. It looked like a team in the middle of the lottery versus a playoff team. Memphis’ offense just couldn’t even find a semblance of rhythm while the Clippers were a well-oiled machine, getting easy shots at the rim and getting to the free throw line with impunity. A perfect recipe for the disaster that ensued Sunday night.

-Also, fans that want the Grizzlies to full-on tank should look at the lineups played this week and ask themselves if they really want to endure that for several years.

Protection Inspection

3/31 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com
tankathon.com

They might do the damn thing. The damn thing being conveying the pick to Boston, obviously.

Memphis headed into Sunday’s game against the Clippers in the 8-spot just a win away from “falling” to the 9th. A loss put them just half a game back from that goal. The New Orleans-Washington-Memphis-Dallas logjam is as congested as it gets. And with just a handful of games left, it could be the most exciting 6th-9th race in lottery history.

Of course, this all comes with the disclaimer that Memphis could leap into the top-4, and even win the lottery, at any spot in the top-14. All this conveying talk might not mean much if the odds are in their favor on lottery night (May 14th).

Week 25 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers Weds. Apr. 3rd 10:00 PM ET/9:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks Fri. Apr. 5th 8:30 PM ET/7:30 PM CT

Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies Sun. Apr. 7th 6:00 PM ET/5:00 PM CT

Our week is two-thirds Dallas Mavericks. Get your heapin’ helpin’ of Dirk while you can. Since we play them twice, we might as well start with them in this preview.

I’m just going to predict Memphis splits the Dallas games this week and go 1-1. I have no statistic to back this up, but anecdotally, it just feels impossible to get two wins against an opponent you play twice so quickly. Memphis and Dallas are both equally mediocre teams. Just a half game seperates them in the standings and fairly close point differentials, with Memphis’ being slightly worse. Memphis has been playing a lot better as of late then they have any right to be, but if injuries continue to be a factor then that hot play might not matter too much. The injury report is basically just a list of players on our roster now. I expect Memphis to win one, but winning both would be an achievement and mighty productive.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Before all that come the Portland Trail Blazers, who are fighting to get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors and Nuggets have the top-two seeds pretty much locked up, but the Blazers are sitting at the 4th spot currently half a game back from the #3 Houston Rockets. Not that having home court mattered much in last year’s first-round for Portland.

Portland is 8-2 in their last 10 games with an average scoring margin of +8.4 per game. If maintained the whole season, that would be the second-highest in the league behind the juggernaut Milwaukee Bucks. Portland has been playing tremendous basketball lately and Damian Lillard is a beacon of consistency. Anyone who reads the Week-side Help knows how hard it is for me to write glowingly of the Trail Blazers, so you know I mean it when I say they’re very good. Good enough to put the Grizzlies’ conveying odds in jeopardy.

Have a good week, Memphis

Follow @sbnGrizzlies