The National Basketball Association is a league that is all about how certain teams match-up with each other. In the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the 8th seeded Golden State Warriors upset the top seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round as a result of their small ball/up-tempo play being the Mavericks’ kryptonite. But rarely do you see teams just happen to match-up poorly with literally every team in their division as appears to be the case for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies currently sit at the 9th spot in the West with a 20-20 record just 3 games back of the 25-19 Dallas Mavericks. But while their record is a solid 20-20, what is more amazing is that they are 0-10 against teams in the Southwest Division, which is the division that they belong to. That’s right folks, 0-10! The weirdest part about this is that they are 0-3 against the 16-25 New Orleans Pelicans, and there is no good explanation for why the Pelicans of all teams would be giving them trouble.
One could easily look at the Grizzlies’ record and their team and say that their struggles have come from Marc Gasol being out, and while I agree with that, they still are 20-10 against teams outside of their division, which is really good. If they were even a mere .500 in their division with a 5-5 record, they’d be sitting pretty with a 25-15 record, which would put them around the 5 or 6 spot in the Western Conference standings.
What is to make of all this? The short answer is that the Grizzlies need to start winning games in their division and they should also be grateful that they only have 6 divisional games left! By the end of the week, they’ll only have 4 divisional games left since they face the Rockets two times in a row on Friday and Saturday. In a more long-term view, the Grizzlies likely will have to face at least a couple of teams in their division come playoff time. There are good odds that they have to take out the Spurs and/or the Rockets to come out of the West. So they really should use these games left in the division to gain some confidence against possible future playoff foes. As for their final game against the lowly Pelicans, all I can say is that if they don’t win that game, perhaps there really is some sort of Voodoo curse being put on them by the Pelicans’ mascot Pierre, because no good explanation exists for why the Pelicans have their number.