The Memphis Grizzlies may actually be the very definition of a quiet powerhouse. At 50-24, the Grizzlies are one of the NBA‘s best teams, yet it is still an odd thing to hear. Tonight they have a chance to nearly eliminate the Portland Trail Blazers from playoff contention.
After making a trade deadline move to get rid of Rudy Gay sending him to the Toronto Raptors, it was a huge question as to what the consequences of the trade would be. Since trading Gay, the Grizzlies have gone on to have an even better finish to the season than they were on pace for with Gay on board.
A huge reason is due to the play of their front court. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have been a tremendously underrated duo over the course of their time together in Memphis. With Randolph averaging 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds along with Gasol putting up 14.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks on the season they have fed off of one another’s success and transformed into a lethal combination.
Point guard Mike Conley Jr. has also done everything asked of him this year as he has produced 14.4 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. He has evolved into the shot caller on that offense and led the Grizzlies team full of non-superstars to a fantastic season that will surely go on into the playoffs.
Portland hasn’t had a lot to be excited about other than the play of their point guard Damian Lillard who looks to be the front runner for the NBA Rookie of the Year. Lillard has averaged 19 points, 6.5 assists, and just over three rebounds per contest this year.
If Portland were to lose tonight against Memphis, they would nearly be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and that is assuming the teams ahead of them lose the rest of their remaining games. Seeing as those teams include the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant playing out of his mind, I don’t see that happening.