The Memphis Grizzlies clinched the Western Conference’s eight and final postseason spot with a thrilling victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. After four straight wins, the Grizzlies are proving to be a team nobody wants to face in the 2014 NBA playoffs.
Facing the San Antonio Spurs in the first round will be no easy task. The Spurs appear to be a team of greatness once again as they look destined to repeat as Western Conference champions. What San Antonio may not fully realize is that getting past Memphis in the first round will be far more difficult than they could ever imagine.
What makes the Grizzlies so dangerous is that they really have nothing to lose. There were no guarantees that they would clinch the final playoff spot. In fact, it took a back-and-forth contest against the Suns that essentially came down to the wire to even allow them to call themselves a postseason team. It is those types of games that build character. On top of that, the win makes Memphis one of the hottest teams in the league entering the playoffs.
The Grizzlies aren’t going to be able to simply outscore the Spurs. They will have to use stifling defense and an aggressive style of play on both ends of the court in order to come out on top. In all honesty, what it will really come down to is the play of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol around the basket. If those two can control the boards and keep Tim Duncan in check, there’s a good chance Memphis will be able to control the game enough to play to their strengths.
The biggest worry is that the Spurs have the veteran experience that will allow them to be prepared for any situation they are thrust into. Their confidence goes unmatched in the Western Conference. However, it’s the overconfidence that could be their downfall, which is why the Grizzlies really do have a fighting chance.