Who: Memphis Grizzlies at Charlotte Bobcats
When: 6:00 pm CST
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
Records: Memphis Grizzlies (37-25), Charlotte (7-54)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis – Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Marreese Speights, Marc Gasol
Charlotte – Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown, Byrun Mullins, Bismark Biyombo
Memphis has clinched a playoff spot. They have won 37 games which is 6th most in franchise history despite the season being 16 games shorter than usual. The chance of moving into 4th place and securing their first home court playoff series is getting dimmer and dimmer every day despite the Grizzlies winning 7 of their last 9 games. So where is the motivation for this game?
Hard to say, but the Grizzlies need to find some or suffer a humiliating defeat at what is possibly the worst team in the NBA. Not just the worst team this season, that is already assured, but the worst team in the history in NBA history. Worse than the New Jersey Nets were two years ago (they won 12 games out of 82), worse than the Dallas Mavericks were in 1993-94 that won only 11 games and even worse than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers won only won 9 games.
This season’s Charlotte team can tie the NBA record for futility (Dallas and Philadelphia) with 7 wins thru 66 games but since those teams finished with some wins the Bobcats, if they fail to win any more games, will finish with the worst winning percentage in league history. If Charlotte finishes the season at 7-59 they would have a .106 winning percentage. Philadelphia’s 9-73 team had a .109 winning percentage. Right now Charlotte has lost 18 consecutive games.
Charlotte in other words has all the motivation in the world. Memphis has very little if any. Sure it is possible that the Grizzlies could fall further down in the standings and have to face the Lakers, Spurs or Thunder instead of the Clippers, but is that any motivation? The Clippers had won 8 of their last 10 games after all heading into last night’s showdown with Phoenix.
The only reason to watch this game, outside of a morbid interest in bad basketball, would be to see if Zach Randolph returns to the starting lineup. Z-Bo started the 3rd quarter against New Orleans and helped the Grizzlies run away from the Hornets outscoring the Hornets 37-12 in the 3rd. Outside of that there is nothing positive from this game. Memphis could suffer an injury, Memphis could lose. If the Grizzlies win it won’t be viewed as anything other than a freebie.
That makes the game a very scary game for the Grizzlies. Hopefully the team is in playoff mode and won’t think too much about the competition. If they do they will surely come out flat. The Grizzlies have had a tendency to come out slow against poorer teams this season but have also found ways to win in spite of that habit.
Prediction: Memphis wins in a laugher and the big names get plenty of rest.