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Scouting the Enemy: March Predictions

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Thoughts?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

In my February predictions, I wrote “Despite this bleak prediction, the Grizzlies may well find themselves at the exact same 8th spot at the end of the month.” It is the beginning of March, and the Memphis Grizzlies sit at the 8th spot. It was not pretty, including a 5-game losing streak coming out of the All-Star Break, but the Grizzlies managed to stay insulated from their own misfortunes with other rivals losing games of their own along the way.

New Orleans, Portland, and San Antonio landed with the exact records I predicted they would, even though it was not the exact breakdown of wins and losses I anticipated.

I made changes with the March predictions. I am no longer scouting the teams ahead of us because that margin has widened, and with Grizzlies’ injuries, the narrative has changed to whether the Grizzlies can hang on to the playoffs (and even whether they should make that a priority at all).

Also, despite the fact that I did not include Sacramento, the Kings could conceivably prove to be a problem if they continue collecting unexpected wins and continuing with their current momentum.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies

Currently In: 8th

Record: (29-31) February Prediction (30-30)

March Schedule + Prediction: (7-8), (36-39)

  • Monday, March 2nd: @ Atlanta: Grizzlies Win (30-31)
  • Wednesday, March 4th: @ Brooklyn: Grizzlies Win (31-31)
  • Friday, March 6th: @ Dallas: Grizzlies Loss (31-32)
  • Saturday, March 7th: vs. Atlanta: Grizzlies Win (32-32)
  • Tuesday, March 10th: vs. Orlando Grizzlies Win (33-32)
  • Thursday, March 12th: @ Portland: Grizzlies Loss (33-33)
  • Saturday, March 14th: @ Utah: Grizzlies Loss (33-34)
  • Monday, March 16th: @ San Antonio: Grizzlies Win (34-34)
  • Tuesday, March 17th: vs. OKC: Grizzlies Win (35-34)
  • Thursday, March 19th: @ Milwaukee: Grizzlies Loss (35-35)
  • Saturday, March 21st: vs. New Orleans: Grizzlies Win (36-35)
  • Tuesday, March 24th: @ New Orleans: Grizzlies Loss (36-36)
  • Wednesday, March 25th: vs. Boston: Grizzlies Loss (36-37)
  • Saturday, March 28th: vs. Toronto: Grizzlies Loss (36-38)
  • Monday, March 30th: @ Toronto: Grizzlies Loss (36-39)

Breakdown: The Memphis Grizzlies have the toughest schedule coming out of the All-Star Break, and March will certainly prove to be challenging. While I picked aggressively once or twice, the Grizzlies will end March barely hanging on to the 8th spot in spite of their injuries.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans

Currently In: 9th

Record: (26-33) February Prediction (26-33)

March Schedule + Predictions: (8-8), (34-41)

  • Sunday, March 1st: vs. Los Angeles Lakers: New Orleans Loss (26 -34) active game.
  • Tuesday, March 3rd: vs. Minnesota: New Orleans Win (27 - 34)
  • Wednesday, March 4th: @ Dallas: New Orleans Loss (27-35)
  • Friday, March 6th: vs. Miami: New Orleans Loss (27-36)
  • Sunday, March 8th: @ Minnesota: New Orleans Win (28-36)
  • Wednesday, March 11th: @ Sacramento: New Orleans Loss (28-37)
  • Friday, March 13th: @ Utah: New Orleans Loss (28-38)
  • Saturday, March 14th: @ Los Angeles Clippers: New Orleans Loss (28-39)
  • Monday, March 16th: vs. Atlanta: New Orleans Win (29-39)
  • Wednesday, March 18th: vs. San Antonio: New Orleans Win (30-39)
  • Saturday, March 21st: @ Memphis: New Orleans Loss (30-40)
  • Sunday, March 22nd: vs. Sacramento: New Orleans Win (31-40)
  • Tuesday, March 24th: vs. Memphis: New Orleans Win (32-40)
  • Friday, March 27th: vs. New York: New Orleans Win (33-40)
  • Sunday, March 29th: @ Orlando: New Orleans Loss (33-41)
  • Tuesday, March 31st: @ Atlanta: New Orleans Win (34-41)

Breakdown: New Orleans will continue make waves with Zion at the helm and they will only continue to gel with him back from injury. The Grizzlies will play them twice, which I anticipate will be a split. The Pelicans could conceivably overtake the Grizzlies by the season’s end, but I do not predict that will be the case by the end of March.

NBA: Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs

Currently In: 10th

Record: (25-33) February Prediction (25-33)

March Schedule + Predictions: (7-9), (32-42)

  • Monday, March 2nd: vs. Indiana: San Antonio Loss (25-34)
  • Tuesday, March 3rd: @ Charlotte: San Antonio Win (26-34)
  • Friday, March 6th: @ Brooklyn: San Antonio Win (27-34)
  • Sunday, March 8th: @ Cleveland: San Antonio Win (28-34)
  • Tuesday, March 10th: vs. Dallas: San Antonio Loss (28-35)
  • Friday, March 13th: vs. Denver: San Antonio Loss (28-36)
  • Saturday, March 14th: vs. Minnesota: San Antonio Win (29-36)
  • Monday, March 16th: vs. Memphis: San Antonio Loss (29-37)
  • Wednesday, March 18th: @ New Orleans: San Antonio Loss (29-38)
  • Friday, March 20th: vs. Chicago: San Antonio Win (30-38)
  • Sunday, March 22nd: vs. Utah: San Antonio Loss (30-39)
  • Tuesday, March 24th: @Utah: San Antonio Loss (30-40)
  • Thursday, March 26th: @Minnesota: San Antonio Win (31-40)
  • Friday, March 27th: @ Denver: San Antonio Loss (31-41)
  • Sunday, March 29th: @ Golden State: San Antonio Win (32-41)
  • Tuesday, March 31st: @ Sacramento: San Antonio Loss ( 32-42)

Breakdown: The Spurs have a few obstacles in their way this month. First, they play Utah twice in a row (one night break between). They also end the month on a 5-game road trip out West, and those can prove to be difficult. Barring Playoff Popovich kicking into gear, I expect the Spurs to lose slightly more than they win this month.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trailblazers

Currently In: 11th

Record: (26-35) February Prediction (26-35)

March Schedule + Prediction: (9-6), (35-41)

  • Monday, March 2nd: @ Orlando: Portland Loss (26-36)
  • Wednesday, March 4th: vs. Washington: Portland Win (27-36)
  • Friday, March 6th: @ Phoenix: Portland Win (28-36)
  • Saturday, March 7th: vs. Sacramento: Portland Loss (28-37)
  • Tuesday, March 10th: vs. Phoenix: Portland Win (29-37)
  • Thursday, March 12th: vs Memphis: Portland Win (30-37)
  • Sunday, March 15th: vs. Houston: Portland Loss (30-38)
  • Tuesday, March 17th: vs. Minnesota: Portland Win (31-38)
  • Thursday, March 19th: vs. Dallas: Portland Loss (31-39)
  • Sunday, March 22nd: @ Minnesota: Portland Win (32-39)
  • Tuesday, March 24th: @ Charlotte: Portland Win (33-39)
  • Wednesday, March 25th: @ Detroit: Portland Win (34-39)
  • Friday, March 27th: @ Boston: Portland Loss (34-40)
  • Sunday, March 29th: @ Philadelphia: Portland Loss (34-41)
  • Monday, March 30th: @ Brooklyn: Portland Win (35-41)

Breakdown: It seems worthy of remark that the Trailblazers have 6 home games in a row followed by 6 road games in a row in their last 12 games in March. While the Trailblazers face a few difficult teams, there are many opportunities to win for them, especially if Damian Lillard is coming back soon. I predict that, by the end of March, the Portland Trailblazers could be in the 9th spot breathing down the necks of the Grizzlies.

By the end of March, I predict...

8. Memphis Grizzlies ( 36-39)

9. Portland Trailblazers (35-41)

10. New Orleans Pelicans (33-42)

11. San Antonio Spurs (32-42)