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Scouting the Enemy: February Predictions

Talk amongst yourselves.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

This is an exercise I began doing years ago when the Memphis Grizzlies were in the playoff hunt. I would write predictions on Post-It notes and stuck them in my cubicle. It is exponentially more fun to watch the other teams as they become more relevant to the Grizzlies’ fate. Because of the large gap between 7th and 8th, I only focused on the team immediately ahead of the Grizzlies. If things change in the higher rankings, I will draw those teams in for March’s predictions.

By contract, there are a cluster of teams that could overtake the Grizzlies’ 8th spot, so my main focus is on those teams. Please, feel free to agree, disagree or launch your own predictions.

Cheers to being in the conversation!

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder

Currently In: 7th

Record: (31-20)

February Schedule + Prediction: (5-5), (35-25)

  • Wednesday, February 5th: vs. Cleveland: OKC WON (31-20)
  • Friday, February 7th: vs. Detroit: OKC Win (32-20)
  • Sunday, February 9th: vs. Boston: OKC Loss (32-21)
  • Tuesday, February 11th: vs. San Antonio: OKC Loss (32-22)
  • Thursday, February 13th: @ New Orleans: OKC Loss (32-23)
  • Friday, February 21st: vs. Denver: OKC Loss (32-24)
  • Sunday, February 23rd: vs. San Antonio: OKC Win (33-24)
  • Tuesday, February 25th: @ Chicago: OKC Win (34-24)
  • Thursday, February 27th: vs. Sacramento: OKC Win (35-24)
  • Friday February 28th: @ Milwaukee: OKC Loss (35-25)

Breakdown: I predict the Thunder will go 5-5, losing to Boston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Denver and Milwaukee. OKC has a higher chance of getting wins against their conference rivals than some of these solid Eastern Conference squads.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies

Currently In: 8th

Record: (26-25)

February Schedule + Prediction: (5-5), (30-30)

  • Wednesday, February 5th: @ Dallas: Grizzlies WON (26-25)
  • Friday, February 7th: @ Philadelphia: Grizzlies Loss (26-26)
  • Sunday, February 9th: @ Washington: Grizzlies Win (27-26)
  • Wednesday, February 12th: vs. Portland: Grizzlies Win (28-26)
  • Thursday, February 20th: @ Sacramento: Grizzlies Win (29-26)
  • Friday, February 21st: @ Los Angeles Lakers: Grizzlies Loss (29-27)
  • Monday, February 24th: @ Los Angeles Clippers: Grizzlies Loss (29-28)
  • Wednesday, February 26th: @ Houston: Grizzlies Loss (29-29)
  • Friday, February 28th: vs. Sacramento: Grizzlies Win (30-29)
  • Saturday, February 29th: vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Grizzlies Loss (30-30)

Breakdown: The Memphis Grizzlies have a tough February. Playing the Lakers twice, the Clippers in Los Angeles, and Houston in Houston felt like sure-fire challenges. I also budgeted for a Grizzlies loss to Philadelphia on Friday night. The Grizzlies have proven to play up to worthy opponents this season, so being wrong would be welcomed as it pertains to going 4-6 in the remaining February games. Despite this bleak prediction, the Grizzlies may well find themselves at the exact same 8th spot at the end of the month.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trailblazers

Currently In: 9th

Record: (23-28)

February Schedule + Prediction: (3-7), (26-35)

  • Thursday, February 6th: vs. San Antonio: Portland Win (24-28)
  • Friday, February 7th: @ Utah: Portland Loss (24-29)
  • Sunday February 9th: vs. Miami: Portland Loss (24-30)
  • Tuesday, February 11th: @ New Orleans: Portland Loss (24-31)
  • Wednesday, February 12th: @ Memphis: Portland Loss (24-32)
  • Friday, February 21st: vs New Orleans: Portland Loss (24-33)
  • Sunday, February 23rd: vs. Detroit: Portland Win (25-33)
  • Tuesday, February 25th: vs. Boston: Portland Loss (25-34)
  • Thursday, February 27th: @ Indiana: Portland Loss (25-35)
  • Saturday, February 29th: @ Atlanta: Portland Win (26-35)

Breakdown: Okay, maybe I am being a little harsh to the Trailblazers, but they have a tough February mostly because they were playing a lot of tough Eastern Conference opponents. That is the best way to get a team off of your heels, because if they lose to most of those teams, then it means another Western Conference opponent is not collecting that win.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs

Currently In: 10th

Record: (22-28)

February Schedule + Predictions: (3-5), (25-33)

  • Thursday, February 6th: @ Portland: San Antonio Loss (22-29)
  • Saturday, February 8th: @ Sacramento: San Antonio Win (23-29)
  • Monday, February 10th: @ Denver: San Antonio Loss (23-30)
  • Thursday, February 11th: @ OKC: San Antonio Win (24-30)
  • Friday, February 21st: @ Utah: San Antonio Loss (24-31)
  • Sunday, February 23rd: @OKC: San Antonio Loss (24-32)
  • Wednesday, February 26th: vs. Dallas: San Antonio Loss (24-33)
  • Saturday, February 29th: vs. Orlando: San Antonio Win (25-33)

Breakdown: Of the 8 remaining games for the Spurs in February, 6 (S-I-X, got to love the rodeo road trip) in a row are away. Despite the fact that there is an All-Star break in the middle, that many away games is bound to grind any team down.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans

Currently In: 12th

Record: (20-31)

February Schedule + Predictions: (6-2), (26-33)

  • Thursday, February 6th: @ Chicago: New Orleans Win (21 -31)
  • Saturday, February 8th: @ Indiana: New Orleans Loss (21 - 32)
  • Tuesday, February 11th: vs. Portland: New Orleans Win (22-32)
  • Thursday, February 13th: vs. OKC: New Orleans Win (23-32)
  • Friday, February 21st: @ Portland: New Orleans Win (24-32)
  • Sunday, February 23rd: @ Golden State: New Orleans Win (25-32)
  • Tuesday, February 25th: @ Los Angeles Lakers: New Orleans Loss (25-33)
  • Friday, February 28th: vs. Minnesota: New Orleans Win (26-33)

Breakdown: So, you’re probably thinking to yourselves that I skipped Phoenix. I did consider Phoenix, but I do not find them a viable enough threat this month to warrant a breakdown. You’re also probably thinking that I was awfully generous to New Orleans. My own eyeballs may lend themselves to my bias here - I watched them pulverize the Grizzlies twice, so I find them very capable.

By the end of February, I predict...

7th. Oklahoma City Thunder (35-25)

8th. Memphis Grizzlies (30-30)

9th. New Orleans Pelicans (26-33)

10th. San Antonio Spurs (25-33)

11th. Portland Trailblazers (26-35)

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