The Memphis Grizzlies are having their best season in franchise history (article on that is HERE) and I like this squad as a dark horse in the Western Conference because of how well head coach Lionel Hollins has his team playing defense.
The Grizz offense leaves a ton to be desired, but when the playoffs revert games to half-court physical battles this Grizz team is going to be extremely comfortable with that style and pace. In their franchise history (including their days in Vancouver) the Grizzlies have won a playoff series just once, but this defense could double that this season and I would not be surprised to see them make an extended playoff run in 2013.
The Grizzlies are in the midst of a seven game winning streak, and the defense is the reason the wins are getting stacked in Memphis. Only the Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers allow fewer than 90 points, and the Grizzlies are one of just three teams that get 16+ steals per game. This team is average vs the 3-ball, but other than that they get great defense from their guards and they have big/physical bodies down low wreaking havoc.
The Grizz disrupt passing lanes and do a great job disrupting their opponents offense flow to the point where teams struggle to even get quality shots off vs Hollins’ crew. Even when teams do get shots off they are usually tough and contested attempts.
Currently the Grizzlies have three less wins than the Los Angeles Clippers for the no.3 seed in the West, but they have the same amount of losses (17) so they are in a position to finish higher than they ever have. Currently the no.4 will have to play a potentially dangerous Denver Nuggets squad, but the no.3 will get the Golden State Warriors (I like GS a lot, but their inexperience makes them a more desirable opponent than George Karl and the Nuggets).
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