Things are going pretty well right now, to say the least. The Grizzlies are 8-2 since trading Rudy Gay, and they’ve won their last seven games. As a result, their position of 4th place in the West looks much more comfortable than it did two weeks ago. At that point, the surging Nuggets had drawn even with the Grizzlies for that spot, and the all-important home court edge in the first round. Now, the grizzlies are four ahead of Denver in the loss column, and can breathe a little easier.
Now, the Grizzlies have to lose at some point. Maybe not for a few more games (they match up pretty well against Miami, who they play on Friday), but eventually. Still, even after that happens, the Grizzlies should be able to keep the good times rolling. Their schedule the rest of the way will not be exceedingly difficult. In the upcoming weeks, the grizzlies will be a smorgasbord of losing teams, including the Magic, Hornets, and Cavaliers. Even their tougher matchups against mediocre teams like the Mavericks and Blazers. The Grizzlies have feasted on weak competition during their current streak, and the slate of games they have coming up will allow them to continue doing so.
Really, it’s amazing how many bad teams keep coming up. The Grizzlies will see the Bobcats, the Wizards, and the Hornets twice. The ever-injured Timberwolves will also be showing up. What this means is that the pressure to earn home court shouldn’t be too tough for the Grizzlies. they have some tougher ones coming up as well, but really, this isn’t a huge challenge for the final 27 games, as they will be playing far more bad teams than good teams.
All the Grizzies need to do is avoid falling into old habits. Over the past two seasons, they’ve developed a rather unfortunate habit of playing down to weaker competition. We saw this towards the end of last season, when during the course of one awful weekend, the almost lost to the Bobcats, then blew an easy one against the Hornets. If they want to fend off the Nuggets, they have to avoid falling into that trap. The Grizzlies will not be seeing an elite level of competition very often between now and April. If they want to grab the #4 spot, all they have to do is take the weak competition seriously. If they do that, Game 1 of the first round series will almost certainly be at the Grindhouse.