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Now Is the Time for the Grizzlies To MakeTheir Move!

The Memphis Grizzlies have started to play better since the acquisition of James Johnson and Courtney Lee to the roster.

The lack of ‘new’ injuries hasn’t been playing havoc with practice which clearly helps as well. The best news of all happened last night when Marc Gasol returned to the lineup. Soon Tony Allen will be back as well. At that point the Grizzlies will be as healthy as they are likely to get this season.

The Grizzlies play a relatively easy schedule - if there really is any such thing in the NBA - over the next 10 days. They play at Milwaukee tonight, Sacramento and New Orleans at home before back to back games against the Rockets. The team needs to win at least four of those games in my opinion.

Why? Because the teams competing with the Grizzlies for the final two playoff spots all play difficult schedules. Take a look.

• Dallas plays at the Clippers, at the Suns, Portland, at Cleveland, at Toronto and at Brooklyn
• Denver plays at Golden State, Cleveland, at Phoenix, at Portland and Indiana
• Minnesota plays Sacramento, at Toronto, Utah, at Golden State and at Portland
• Phoenix plays the Lakers, Mavs, Nuggets, Pacers and Wizards.

Clearly the Phoenix schedule is easiest as all their games are at home but Phoenix has lost three straight games and if not for a Minnesota miss at the buzzer would be staring at five straight losses. Throw on top the loss of Eric Bledsoe and Phoenix may actually be the most unstable of teams competing for a playoff spot in the West.

Photo by Nikki Boertman Commercial Appeal

Photo by Nikki Boertman
Commercial Appeal

This is an excellent opportunity for the Grizzlies to make up some serious ground on their competitors.

I know people will say this is silly. That playoff spots aren’t won or lost in January but this isn’t a normal team. A new coach and lots of new players this year started the season slowly. A rash of injuries derailed the team when they started making a move on the infamous West Coast road trip. To make a run the team has to start stringing together wins and quickly. This is a wonderful time to do just that.

This could also be a good time to stop the division losing streak. The team is 0-9 in the Southwest Division and need to start winning games if they want to make the playoffs. New Orleans has lost leading scorer Ryan Anderson and last year’s All-Star PG Jrue Holliday. Houston is playing well but it is extremely difficult to win a home and home series against a team in the NBA. The Grizzlies need division wins badly for both confidence and conference standing.

Finally, 7 of the next 9 games after this streak are on the road and many of those games are against playoff teams as the standings are today. This is the time the Grizzlies need to make a move.

It was a great start with the win over OKC last night. Now the team needs to continue to build on that win.

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