By Craig Fields
So the Memphis Grizzlies have seemingly remembered that they have not only been a playoff team for the past three years, but a title contender in two of those three years. They are currently 10 games over .500 and are really pushing for a playoff spot.
The Memphis Grizzlies have won five of their last seven games and do not look like they are going to slow down anytime soon. They have had to deal with injuries to Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley, but are still in the playoff race sitting in 8th place with 20 left to play.
They play great perimeter and interior defense with great size and length at every position. With Tayshaun Prince starting at the small forward position, what he lacks in scoring he makes up for in defensive tenacity.
Head Coach David Joerger, who won the Head Coach of the Month award in January, has come in to his first year with this role and has done exceptionally well. He has been with the team since 2007 and understands the defensive philosophy that has gotten this team to where they are. Heck he helped to instill that philosophy.
Three and half games currently separate the 6th seed through the 9th seed in the Western Conference. That means that unfortunately a good team will not be able to make the playoffs. With the 7th place Dallas Mavericks beating Portland and most recently, the Indiana Pacers in back-to-back games it is hard to say that they are not a playoff team. The Phoenix Suns who sat in 7th place recently beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thrilling game showing the nation what they can do against a top notch opponent.
The Golden State Warriors, who currently occupy the 6th seed have been working through injuries and maintain their relevance in the Western Conference which is hard to do. This race will have teams 1-8 that could potentially create the most upsets in NBA playoff history.
We have seen the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies completely dominate the 1 seeded Spurs back in 2011. There is no doubt that every single series in the playoffs will be competitive in the Western Conference.
With a fourth of the season left, anyone’s guess is as good as mine as to who might win those final three spots. One thing that is certain is that the Memphis Grizzlies are showing the entire league right now that they are deserving and are trying their best to take one.