This isn’t going to be one of my 1,700 word lectures, just a quick thought. A lot of people I’ve talked to today have said something along the lines of “big game tonight, huh?” The more I think about it, the more confident I am that the answer is “no”.
Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly a “marquee” game, given the recent playoff history between the two franchises and the star power of Durant/Westbrook. However, while it may be a fun game for the fans, it is the least important game on the remaining schedule.
Here is my theorem:
- The “7 Rules for Making the Playoffs” categorize this as a “Rule 6” game.
- (TL/DR: “Rule 6 – Win 2-out-of-5 road games against Western Conference playoff teams.”)
- In order to make it comfortably into the post-season, the Grizzlies only need to win 40% of the “Rule 6” games.
- This group of five games (@OKC, @SAS, @PHX, @GSW and @POR) represents the least important games on the schedule.
- Of those five match-ups, the two most important games are obviously @PHX and @GSW, two teams we hope to overtake in the standings.
- Thus, the three “Rule 6” games you can most afford to lose while remaining “on schedule” are @OKC, @SAS and @POR.
- Within the remaining three “Rule 6” games, the @SAS game is the most important if only because we need – psychologically – to get a quality win over the Spurs to break the spell they’ve cast over the Grizzlies for the last 18 months.
- Arguably, between @POR and @OKC, you have a higher expectation of winning against Portland after our performance in the Rose Garden earlier this year.
- As the Grizzlies have fallen one game “behind schedule” after last Saturday’s loss at Charlotte, @POR is the best opportunity – amongst “Rule 6” games – to make that loss up.
- Therefore, when you consider the relative (a) necessity, (b) expectation and (c) impact of a win or loss tonight as compared to the Grizzlies other 24 remaining games, tonight’s match-up @OKC is the least important game of the remaining schedule.
I’m no mathematician, but I think I just showed my work.
I hope we win tonight and absolutely believe we can/may win, but at the end of the day this isn’t the one to get worked up over. Not even close. So relax. Skip the pre-game Aspirin and just enjoy the game. It will probably (read: hopefully) be a while before we play another game as unimportant as this one.
Just something to consider as you prepare for the game.
Grind on, Memphis!