Thursday, March 11, 2010

Keeping Playoff Hopes (Barely) Alive

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:55 AM

With last night's 111-91 win at Boston, the Grizzlies have extended their current road winning streak to 7 games and have won 4 of their past 5. As of today, the Grizzlies are 3.5 games behind the Portland Trailblazers for the 8th seed and 4.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the 7th seed. With 17 games to go for the Grizzlies, the odds of making the post-season are slim, but there is still a legitimate chance, and I suspect the race will tighten in the coming weeks. Let's look at the schedules for these three teams the rest of the way:

Memphis: 17 games, 8/9 home/road split. 10 against teams with winning records, 6 against teams with > .600 winning %, 5 against teams with > .650 winning %.

Portland: 16 games, 7/9 home/road split. 8 against teams with winning records, 7 against teams with > .600 winning %, 4 against teams with > .650 winning %.

San Antonio: 20 games, 8/12 home/road split. 14 against teams with winning records, 11 against teams with > .600 winning %, 7 against teams with > .650 winning %.

Factor San Antonio's loss of Tony Parker for potentially the rest of the regular season against those remaining schedules and the conclusion is this: The Grizzlies are playoff longshots, but the team they’re chasing is more likely to be the Spurs than the Blazers.

The Spurs have more games left, with a higher percentage on the road and a higher percentage against elite teams — they still play the Lakers and Magic twice and have road games left against Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, OKC, Boston, and Phoenix. If the Grizzlies can build on this current 4-1 stretch and play well the rest of the way, look for the race to tighten up. Chances are there isn't enough time left to overtake the Spurs, but don't count it out yet.

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