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Tag:Memphis Grizzlies
Posted on: April 20, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Series Reset: Manu Ginobili and the Memphis fits

Can the Spurs get back on track now that Manu Ginobili returns? Will Marc Gasol keep up his production? What about all the fouls? 
Posted by Matt Moore




The Narrative: Manu Ginobili's going to help. A lot. That's why he's Manu Ginobili. The Spurs very nearly beat the Memphis Grizzlies without Ginobili, and since he's the Spurs best/second-best/third-best player (depending on who you talk to), it's not arrogance for a Spurs fan to feel like all will be well once Manu hits the floor for Game 2. The Grizzlies have two of the best perimeter defenders in the league in Tony Allen and Shane Battier. Allen will try and body Ginobili, to wear him down physically, specifically on that sore elbow. Battier will try and distract and frustrate him with precision and consistency. 

Neither is likely to succeed. 

Ginobili has a wide range of basketball talents. Shooting, driving, particularly to his left, and a hesitation dribble followed by a burst where applicable. The Euro-step. But also among those talents is flopping -- the art of drawing the foul. Allen has a reputation for falling for the pump-fake. Combine the two and you've got a recipe for three quick fouls in the first half on Allen, and five by the 10-minute mark in the fourth. Battier will do better in avoiding said fouls, but he also doesn't have the speed anymore to stick with Ginobili on the drive. Considering the Grizzlies' notoriously slow rotations in the paint, Ginobili could have a big game in his return. 

The Hook: And all of Ginobili's wiles won't help with the biggest problem the Spurs had in Game 1. He can't guard Marc Gasol nor Zach Randolph. More than one Spurs fan remarked after Game 1, "There's no way Marc Gasol goes off for 24 points again!" Then they guffaw. There's much general guffawing. This is likely due to their not being aware that Gasol was one of the league leaders in field goal percentage last season. He shot 53 percent from the field this season, and it was a down year for him. He struggled with his shot for most of the year before correcting it in the last two months of the season, and shooting 56 percent. As for why his point totals never got that high? He's not often asked to be a big scorer in the Grizzlies' offense. His responsibilities are more focused on facilitating ball movement at the pinch post, working the offensive glass, and setting screens. But to confuse his versatility with an inability to convert his opportunities into buckets is to short-change Gasol. Tim Duncan said after Game 1 than he didn't focus on Gasol because he was concentrating on Randolph. That's going to be key in this game. Antonio McDyes can't check him, Gasol has too much quickness. DeJuan Blair can't, Gasol has too much length and agility. Matt Bonner can't because... well, he's Matt Bonner. So it comes down to whether Duncan can shut down Gasol. Zach Randolph's going to get his. But if Duncan can shut down Gasol, it will put the Spurs in a much better position. If he can't, it's going to be an issue for San Antonio.

The Adjustment: The Grizzlies did what they do in Game 1, not sending help on perimeter penetration, letting the Spurs get where they wanted and picking up about seventeen hundred fouls. It worked out in some ways for Memphis, they avoided the Spurs' perimeter shooters daggering them to death.  But giving up so many free throws is not a sustainable approach.  Part of that will fluctuate from officiating crew to officiating crew. But I've yet to see a crew who doesn't give Tony Parker the benefit of the doubt when he launches himself to the floor following contact. Memphis has to be able to defend without fouling, which means smarter, better rotations and help defense, which the Grizzlies have not done well all season. If the free throw disparity keeps up in this series, Memphis' hopes for an upset are dashed. 

The X-Factor: George Hill was aggressive in Game 1, but eventually became frustrated as the Grizzlies switched off on him and Tony Allen got his legs under him. Allen may spend more time defending Parker in Game 2, and going forward. But more confusing was the solid defensive work O.J. Mayo did on Hill in Game 1. Mayo is not a great defender, but his lack of size isn't compromised against Hill, and Hill was unable to shake Mayo. Hill is the superior athlete and player, however, and could have a big impact if he shakes off his frustrations from the second half of Game 1 and gets back to the damage he did in the first half. The Grizzlies' bench is thick offensively to begin with. The Spurs can deliver a knockout blow if Hill leads a charge off the bench with Manu Ginobili back in starter rotations. 

The Sticking Point: How do you defend the drive-and-kick, ball-movement-led corner 3-pointer in the NBA? The traditional model is to "run it off." Close as hard as you can off the help defense, swinging your arms wildly and praying to distract the shooter enough to get his aim off. The Grizzlies did a fair amount of that in Game 1, but also threw in another element. Memphis' best defensive element is their ability to create turnovers by playing the passing lanes. The Spurs did a great job in Game 1 of avoiding turnovers, winning that battle 16-10. But the Grizzlies impact was in preventing opportunities, as the Spurs were cautious with those passes, and when they did make them, they were often adjusted to avoid interception. This strategy usually led to struggled catch-and-shoot situations, forcing a reset. The Grizzlies can't let the Spurs kill them with the corner three. If that happens, Memphis will drown under a tidal wave of the Spurs' biggest strength: their offense. 
Posted on: April 18, 2011 7:34 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 7:46 pm
 

Veteran PG Jason Williams retires

Veteran point guard Jason Williams has retired. Posted by Ben Golliver.

It's been one of those years for Jason Williams. Back in October, he was suspended for bumping an official after arguing a call. In January, he no-showed on a road trip, got into a dispute with Magic management and eventually forced his way into a release. Shortly thereafter, he was picked up by the Memphis Grizzlies, where he played 11 games but isn't with the team in the playoffs due to injuries.

On Monday, ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports both reported that Williams has decided to retire after a 12-year NBA career in which he posted averages of 10.5 points and 5.9 assists. It's probably time.

Williams, 35, averaged just 2.0 points and 1.9 assists in 10.9 minutes per game this season. He was somewhat productive as a reserve guard for the Magic last year, but Orlando's backcourt became extra crowded after its midseason trade for Gilbert Arenas, and Williams was clearly the odd man out. 

The lasting memory from Williams' 2010-2011 season will be discontent, however his unique legacy casts a much wider net. He will be remembered as "White Chocolate," a high school teammate of NFL player Randy Moss who was not afraid to profanely tee off on reporters after a game and who brought one of the truly unique moves to the game: the behind-the-back off-the-elbow pass, as show below. He was also a member of the 2006 title-winning Miami Heat

Happy trails, White Chocolate. There won't be another like you.

Posted on: April 17, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Report: Grizzlies ink Zach Randolph to extension

The Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly agreed to a four-year contract extension with power forward Zach Randolph. Posted by Ben Golliver. zach-randolph

Fresh off their first playoff victory in franchise history, the Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly locked up power forward Zach Randolph to a long-term contract extension. ESPN.com reports that the Grizzlies and their leading scorer have "agree[d] to 4-year, $71 million contract extension, according to league sources... $66 million fully guaranteed, plus $1.3 million in incentives each year." The site also reported that the final year of the deal is a player option.

A deal had been rumored to be close for nearly a month, as word that the two sides were close first circled in March and then again in early April

Memphis's core is now virtually complete. They've locked up wing Rudy Gay, starting point guard Mike Conley and now Randolph to extensions. The final piece is expected to be center Marc Gasol, who is a restricted free agent this summer. 

Randolph has long been a boxscore stuffer and this season was no exception. He averaged 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds, the third straight year he's averaged more than 20 points per game and the fifth straight year he's averaged double figures in rebounds.

This contract doesn't come without concerns. Randolph is 29 years old, meaning he will be 33 when the deal completes. While he doesn't rely on overwhelming athleticism to generate his numbers, there's no question his production will tail off during that time period. An average salary of nearly $18 million usually would be reserved for a franchise player. Randolph is likely worth that figure to the Grizzlies next year, but will he be in year four?

Avoiding a fifth year is really the only strength of this deal from Memphis' perspective. At some point, though, it becomes "pay to play" time. Not retaining Randolph would have killed the positive momentum created during this year's playoff run and set the Grizzlies back on a semi-rebuilding course, looking for a dominant low-post player without the luxury of a lottery pick to try to find one. In this case, over-paying is probably better than rebuilding and there's also a decent chance that at least some of next year's salary won't be paid due to a lockout, plus an outside chance that there will be salary rollbacks that could affect the total number Randolph will end up receiving over the entirety of the deal. (It's worth noting that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement plus Randolph's age at the end of the deal makes it very unlikely that he will exercise his player option.) 

Nevertheless, this is a huge win for Randolph, who got his final, big NBA payday before a potential lockout. He gets not only a fat salary but also the peace of mind that goes with continuity in knowing where he will play for the foreseeable future. That's something that he hasns't had playing for four teams in the last five seasons.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 6:14 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Grizzlies-Spurs: The joy of one

Memphis wins first playoff game in franchise history as unlikely heroes come full circle. Oh, yeah, and there's a whole series in front of them.

Posted by Matt Moore




Joy comes in the morning . The Memphis Grizzlies entered the postseason 0-12 in postseason play. They walked out of the AT&T Center in San Antonio with a 1-0 series lead and their first ever franchise playoff win. 

It would be really easy to put this win in terms of the culmination of questionable moves the franchise has made, the history of failure and how far the team has come in getting one measly win in a playoff series. A win in series in which they are a considerable underdog to the very model of a small-market franchise that has won four NBA championships in the past ten years. 

I will do so now. 

The Grizzlies won behind two huge efforts from their frontcourt. Zach Randolph led the way with 25 points. Randolph was acquired ina  trade from the Clippers for Quentin Richardson. At the time, it was considered terrible, since Randolph was known as a locker room cancer who never won anything. Instead, he became the Grizzlies' first All-Star since Pau Gasol, and, on Sunday, did what he does: create shots underneath the basket where there's seemingly no room to create one. Without a legit player with length underneath, Randolph was able to create slight tip-ins. Throw in some poor defense by DeJuan Blair, and you've got a big day for Randolph.

In one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history, the Grizzlies traded their All-Star Pau Gasol for the expiring contract of Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, and the rights to Gasol's brother Marc who was playing in Spain. Randolph gets all the attention, and rightfully so. But Marc Gasol is as big a part of what the Grizzlies do as any player. He's a tremendous defender, both down low and on pick and rolls. He shows hard on screens and recovers, runs off mid-range Js (as he did Sunday), and has a wide offensive repertoire. While Tim Duncan was taking him one on one in the post in the first half, Gasol was getting his own, and wound up outscoring Duncan 24-16.  Anyone have that figured to start the day? 

Memphis made a series of terrible decisions in trading a first-round pick for Ronnie Brewer last season, then renouncing his right as a restricted free agent. They then used that money to acquire Tony Allen, another player with questionable skills and reputation, who wound up with a huge fourth quarter. Allen was plagued by foul trouble, but still managed to have an impact on the game with a series of gritty late-game defensive plays and some key buckets. 

The Grizzlies nearly traded O.J. Mayo at the deadline before the deal fell through and they got the trade request in too late. Mayo had 13 points off the bench. 

Memphis signed Mike Conley to a 5-year, $40 million contract, and were blasted for it. Mostly by me . (I made amends later after Conley continued to show his improvement, though the decision at the time was still irresponsible). Conley had 15 points and 10 assists and actually held his own offensively against Tony Parker (defensively, it was a different matter). 

The list goes on and on.

Then there's this. The Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet, one of the biggest busts of the decade with the No.2 overall pick in 2009. They had to send Thabeet along with a pick just to get rid of him. Houston took him on, in exchange for an expendable veteran defender who can hit the occasional 3-pointer. The Grizzlies got Shane Battier


Seems like a lot to make out of a Game 1 win when Memphis is just as likely to get blasted in the next four games, especially considering Manu Ginobili's absence. But, for a franchise trying to establish some level of legitimacy and momentum, it's a big deal. They won that first playoff game, and now have stolen homecourt advantage from the No.1 overall seed. This series looks long, it looks physical, and it looks exciting. And for the first time in franchise history, Memphis fans have to feel like they actually have a shot. 

You want some perspective on this? How about Manu Ginobili's absence? The Spurs' best element today was drawing fouls against a perimeter Grizzlies' defense that couldn't stop a drunken toddler from getting into the lane and resorted to just beating them up. The Spurs shot 15 more free throws than the Grizzlies, and hit 15 more. When Ginobili returns in Game 2, as he probably will, that number may actually increase. Ginobili and Parker are two of the best at drawing fouls (and some would say flopping). There may actually be dents in the AT&T center hardwood if the pattern from Game 1 keeps up.

The Grizzlies won despite only forcing 10 turnovers and losing the turnover battle. The Spurs were deliberate with their attack, and while the Grizzlies did succeed in forcing the Spurs off the 3-point line, outside of a handful of Richard Jefferson threes and two Matt Bonner bombs late to make everyone forget how terribly, terribly awful he was in guarding Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies outshot the Spurs by 12 percent, holding the Spurs to 40 percent from the field... and only won by three. That's a bad sign. 

If the Grizzlies don't figure out how to keep the Spurs out of the paint on the drive, or not foul them every single time they do enter, they're going to go down in flames. They gave up 29 free throws to George Hill and Tony Parker. That may seem like an outlier that won't hold. Given Memphis' style, it's likely not an outlier. 

But at the end of the day, Memphis did what they've done all season. Find a way to beat a better team by grinding it out, making big shots, and playing remarkable defense. For a day, it was good for a win, the biggest in franchise history. 
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Grizzlies-Spurs Preview: Quick and brutal

Our first-round series previews continue with this look at Memphis vs. San Antonio. Are the Spurs the grizzled defensive team of old? Can Tony Allen do anything to disrupt Manu? 
Posted by Matt Moore




I. Intro

If the playoffs were one giant game show, Grizzlies-Spurs is the box with the gigantic question mark on it. Are the Spurs as good as their record indicates? Because if they are, this thing's going to be over in about forty-five seconds. Are the Grizzlies able to translate that toughness to the playoffs and is San Antonio in a weak spot with an injured Manu Ginobili and some defensive questions? Because if that's the case, this thing could go the distance. We just don't know. The Spurs have so much experience. The Grizzlies are playing with so much emotion. The Spurs are an elite offensive team. The Grizzlies are a great defensive team. Tim Duncan. Zach Randolph. Manu Ginobili. Tony Allen's abject insanity. Good benches, good coaches. This one has all the makings of a great series. It's a 1 seed vs. the 8 seed. Which means it could be terrible. 

We don't know anything. We're waiting for both of these teams to define themselves. We're pretty sure San Antonio's going to win, because they're better with better players. But Memphis has been on such a roll, has such good chemistry, has size and good wing play and attack the rim. Trying to decipher this series is maddening, but that also means it could be fun, even if it's a sweep. 

II. What Happened: A Look at the Season Series

The Spurs only lost 21 games. Two of them were to Memphis. One was a tank game at the end of the season, though. Memphis averaged 103 points against San Antonio, who only scored 101. Both teams won their home games. The Spurs took the first two meetings, the Grizzlies the last two. Three of the meetings were after the trade deadline acquisition of Battier for Memphis. 

You want a weird one? Both of Memphis' wins over the Spurs came after Rudy Gay was lost for the season. 

Other than that? It's a bizarre amalgam of information from those games. The Spurs won when Tony Parker scored 37. They won when Parker scored 2. Memphis won a slow paced game, lost a slow paced game, won a fast paced game, lost a fast paced game. The Spurs won when they shot over 50 percent, and lost when they shot over 50 percent (the tank game). Memphis won when they controlled the rebounding battle, and lost when they controlled the rebounding battle. There is literally no discernible pattern other than individual matchup advantages that were at times expressed and at times not expressed. 

The consistent theme is that Zach Randolph's going to get his. He plugged in 24, 24, 23, and 21. That's predictable, considering Randolph's consistency in the 20-10 game. But the fact that Randolph's production isn't tied to Memphis winning has to be a concern for the Grizzlies. 

III. The Easy Stuff: Manu vs. the Yin-Yang

Manu Ginobili is one of the toughest covers in the NBA. Tony Allen and Shane Battier are two of the best defenders in the league. Manu has the Euro-step. Battier and Allen are obsessed with tape review to figure out tendencies. This is a huge matchup to watch. Ginobili will need to be in full flop mode. If he can frustrate Allen by drawing fouls via flop, Allen will start to gamble more. Given his penchant for falling for the pump-fake, it may not be too difficult for Ginobili to do that quickly. Against Battier, Manu has more speed advantage, and the Grizzlies' frontcourt help defense is not good. 

For Memphis, the key here needs to be to deny the ball. Ball pressure has to be a key part of their attack on Ginobili. They can't bring help at the elbow, due to the Spurs' plethora of shooters. So they have to focus on keeping the ball out of his hand, which is nearly impossible when they set the offense with Manu as ball-handler in the deep backcourt. The Grizzlies focus on turnovers, and Ginobili's turnover rate is the lowest of his career (that factors how many possessions he uses). If Hollins doesn't figure out a way to attack Ginobili at the elbow on the drive before he slips low (where he is nearly impossible to defend), he's going to hurt Memphis in a big, big way. 


IV. Secret of the Series: Underground seating

Memphis does not have a good bench. But they may have advantages against the Spurs. Matt Bonner is a terrific 3-point shooter, but who is he going to defend? Zach Randolph will bury him. Darrell Arthur is both faster and stronger. Antonio McDyess is a capable defender, and he could have a huge impact in this series. George Hill has had a great season, but with Battier and Mayo coming off the Bench, there are answers. Darrell Arthur is a big secret for Memphis. He's not only strong and quick, but he has a reliable mid-range from 18. Stretch bigs give the Spurs fits, and if Conley and Arthur start to operate in space, and that jumper falls for Arthur, that's some damage that could be done. 

It'll be interesting to see if the Spurs start McDyess to cover Randolph, giving Duncan the less offensive-focused Marc Gasol. In that situation, DeJuan Blair would come off the bench. Blair's defensive issues are problematic, but he could neutralize the boards advantage for Memphis. Do that and the Grizzlies lose some of their umph. Lineups and rotations will go a long way in deciding this series.

V. The Dinosaur Narrative: "THE SPURS ARE TOUGH, GRITTY, VETERAN DEFENSIVE TEAM."

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who spins this yarn at you, needs to go. I've talked about the Spurs' defensive slide on this site quite a bit, and there's been no dramatic shift in the other direction. The Spurs simply don't have the personnel they used to. Gone are the veteran wing defenders like Michael Finley and Bruce Bowen. Instead George Hill, who has great speed and is a terrific offensive player, is asked to play in a reserve two-guard role often. Richard Jefferson has solid length, but isn't an elite defender. DeJuan Blair doesn't have the length or explosion to defend bigger players in the post, and is still young as to not have the savvy experience necessary to overcome those limitations. He'll get there, but he's not there yet.

Every year prior, if you asked who had a better defensive efficiency, the Spurs or their first-round opponent, you'd automatically answer "San Antonio." But this year? The Grizzlies are 8th in defensive efficiency. The Spurs? 11th. This doesn't mean the Spurs won't win, or that they won't find that extra defensive playoff gear. It just means that going into this series, the Spurs are not that old, veteran tough team they're always known to be. 

VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each matchup?

PG: Tony Parker has terrific speed on the perimeter. Mike Conley has made huge strides this season, but he routinely gets blown by faster guards.  Conley will probably get his fair share of points and assists, but Parker's ability to dominate this matchup is unquestionable. Advantage: Parker.

SG: We discussed above, but it should be put this way. Manu Ginobili is a championship caliber wing with savvy, speed and great scoring ability. This is a no-brainer. Advantage: Manu.

SF: The Grizzlies run Sam Young and Tony Allen in tandem at the 2/3 spots. Young has added bulk and been taken under TA's wing this season. But Jefferson has about a million more moves. Young will be more aggressive, but that will also lead to leaving Jefferson open in the corner, where he's become deadly (highest 3-point percentage of his career). Jefferson get the nod here. 

PF: Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time. Zach Randolph is a top five power forward in the league right now. And neither will guard each other much in this series. We're going to give the nod to Duncan, only, and we stress only, for his defensive impact. Randolph is a poor defender, Duncan is still strongest. Advantage: Duncan.

C: Marc Gasol is constantly the most underrated center in the league. McDyess is a solid veteran defender. DeJuan Blair is a nice rebounder and put-back machine. Neither is seven-feet tall with the ability to run the pinch post, nail the open 16-footer consistently, pass well out of the post and attack the offensive glass as easily as Gasol. Plus his beard is mighty. Advantage: Gasol. 

Bench: We just got through telling you the Grizzlies have some matchup advantages on the Spurs on the bench. But the Grizzlies bring off Ish Smith and Hamed Haddadi. Advantage: Spurs. 

Coach: We'd comment more thoroughly on this, but we're afraid Popovich will make fun of us. Advantage: Popovich.

VII. Conclusion

When you have a matchup that becomes as complicated and confusing when you get in the details as this one, you have to take a step back and look at the simple picture. The Spurs have had one of their best seasons ever. They have championship players. They have Hall of Famers. They have a Hall of Fame coach. They are an elite offensive team that understands what they have to do defensively to win. They have experience, where the Grizzlies have almost none. The Spurs are the top seed in the West versus the 8th seed. 

It wouldn't surprise many to see Memphis take two games in this series. It also wouldn't surprise many to see a sweep by the Spurs. I'll aim for the middle. A five-game gentleman's sweep, which means Memphis wins a playoff game, and that's a step forward for the franchise. Prediction: Spurs in 5. 
Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:04 pm
 

Grizzlies close to deal with Randolph?

Grizzlies talking to Zach Randolph's representatives to finish extension before playoffs begin. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The Memphis Grizzlies return to the playoffs this weekend for the first time since 2006.  It's the first moment of genuine excitement for the team and city since the rebuilding process began after the trade of Pau Gasol. But something does come after the playoffs and the Grizzlies have a great number of things to work out with regards to their future roster. Chief among those concerns is Zach Randolph who needs a new contract. But it would appear the Grizzlies are trying to settle that concern before the playoffs even begin. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports today that Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley strolled on into FedEx Forum with Randolph as Randolph's representatives worked out an extension with management. 
When asked if that was a sure sign that his contract extension was all but a done deal, Randolph smiled and said: "They're saying its close."

Raymond Brothers is Randolph's agent and he's been locked in nonstop negotiations with Griz general manager Chris Wallace for the past week. After poking around a little bit today, I'm told that the issues left on the table are so minor that a deal could be finalized and announced as soon as today.
via Griz deal with Z-Bo could be done today - The Memphis Edge.

The key will be not just how much they give Randolph, but how many years. Randolph turns 30 this summer and while his game doesn't rely on athleticism so it's likely he may sustain production longer than a leaper, there's still going to be a dip. The team needs to structure a contract that rewards the work Randolph has put in both on and off the floor for Memphis, but also allows for their future growth. Too strong of an offer and they'll limit themselves. But apparently they have a set already agreed to. Getting it done before the playoffs is either a brilliant tactical move and good karma, or counting chickens before they hatch. 
 

Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:28 am
 

2011 NBA Playoff Matchups Set Wednesday

Final playoff positioning following Wednesday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




All playoff matchups are set following Wednesday night's games. We've got our 16 teams seeded.
Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. For more analysis on the East, check out our discussion from Tuesday

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta


Western Conference

1 San Antonio vs. 8 Memphis
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7 New Orleans
3 Dallas vs. 6 Portland
4 Oklahoma City vs. 5 Denver

The Mavericks' win over the Hornets locked Oklahoma City into the 4 seed, they'll face Denver. A Lakers win over Sacramento gets them the 2. The Hornets loss doesn't really matter, since it all came down to Memphis. Memphis t anked against the Clippers to get to the 8 spot. Memphis to the 8. The Hornets wind up 7th. 

Meanwhile, the Spurs' tank squad lost to Phoenix . Chicago finishes with the best overall record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Finals should they advance that far. Again, something that could come back to bite a tanking team. 

Some quick thoughts, as our series previews start tomorrow: 

Grizzlies-Spurs: Memphis may have made a brilliant manuever or doomed themselves. Manu Ginobili was injured Wednesday night, and if he's out, the Grizzlies might push the Spurs a bit. But they also ended the season in pathetic fashion, even for a tanking team. If that carries over, this could be over quickly. 

Hornets-Lakers: This is going to be short, violent, and brutal. I'll let you figure out how. Worst matchup for the underdog. 

Blazers-Mavericks: Portland fans wanted this matchup. We'll see if it works out for them. There are some good things here for Portland. If Dallas doesn't hit another gear, they could get rolled in the first round. Again. 

Nuggets-Thunder: This does not look like a great matchup on the surface for Denver. They'll have to get together and play the series of their lives, but against an inexperienced Thunder team, there's some possibility here. 

Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Your Wednesday Morning NBA playoff scenarios

Updated playoff positioning following Tuesday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




We've got 16 teams, and a lot of them are locked in place. Here's where we stand in terms of playoff positioning going into Tuesday night's games.
Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. For more analysis on the East, check out our discussion from Tuesday

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta


Western Conference

1 San Antonio vs. 8 Memphis/New Orleans
2 Dallas/Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7 Memphis/New Orleans
3 Dallas/Los Angeles Lakers/OKC vs. 6 Portland
4 Dallas/Oklahoma City vs. 5 Denver

What a mess. Though, it is less of a mess than it was yesterday. Memphis pulled Zach Randolph and Tony Allen vs. the Blazers, surrendering the sixth seed, presumably to attempt to avoid Los Angeles. It's thought that Memphis will also rest some combination of starters Wednesday night vs. the Clippers. Portland's win locks them into the sixth seed. 

The Lakers' win over "San Antonio" (I wouldn't really call that team that played the Spurs, would you?) means that Oklahoma City cannot finish second, and the Lakers cannot finish fourth. 

Before we get into contingencies for Wednesday night's results, just to review: San Antonio is locked as the 1 seed, Denver is locked as the fifth seed, and Portland is locked as the sixth seed. Those teams aren't going anywhere. 

Now, here's how Wednesday night's games shake out. 

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Hornets beat the Mavs, and Bucks beat Thunder: The Lakers. gets the 2 seed with a one-game advantage over the Mavs, the Hornets get the 7 seed by one-game advantage/tiebreaker over Memphis, regardless of the outcome of Grizzlies-Clippers. Mavericks get the 3 seed and face the Blazers. Lakers as a 2 seed face Hornets as a 7. Grizzlies lands in the 8 and faces 1 Spurs, while the Thunder land in the 4 and face 5 Denver. 

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Mavs beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: The Lakers still gets the 2 seed by virtue of tie breaker over the Mavericks, who land as the 3 seed, regardless of the outcome of Bucks-Thunder, also by tiebreaker. Grizzlies get the 7 seed and will face the Lakers, Hornets fall to 8 and will face Spurs. Thunder wind up in the 4 and face 5 Nuggets. The Mavericks face the Blazers.

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Mavs beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: Lakers get 2 seed by tiebreaker, Mavericks land in 3 seed, Thunder get 4 and Grizzlies wind up 7. 1 Spurs face 8 Hornets, 2 Lakers play 7 Grizzlies, 3 Mavericks play 6 Blazers, and 4 Thunder play 5 Nuggets.

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Hornets beat the Mavs, and Bucks beat Thunder: The Lakers keep the 2 seed by virtue of tiebreaker over the Mavs, the Mavericks still get the 3, and the Thunder wind up in the 4. The Hornets earn the 7 seed, while the Grizzlies fall to 8.  Spurs play Grizzlies, Lakers play Hornets, Mavericks play Blazers, and Thunder face the Nuggets. 

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Mavericks beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: The Mavericks slide up into the 2, the Lakers down to the 3, the Thunder into the 4, Hornets drop to 8 while Grizzlies notch themselves at 7. 1 Spurs play 8 Hornets, 2 Mavericks play 7 Grizzlies, 3 Lakers play 6 Blazers, 4 Thunder play 5 Nuggets. 

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Mavericks beat the Hornets, and the Clippers beat the Grizzlies: The Mavericks slide up into the 2, the Lakers down to the 3, the Thunder are locked into the 4. New Orleans maintains the 7 with tiebreaker over Memphis, who drops to 8. 1 Spurs play 8 Grizzlies, 2 Mavericks play 7 Hornets, 3 Lakers play 6 Blazers, and 4 thunder play 5 Nuggets.

If the the Hornets defeat Mavericks, and the Thunder defeat Bucks:  This drops L.A., Dallas, and Oklahoma City into a three-way tie. Lakers win 2 seed regardless of their game vs. Kings by virtue of tiebreaker/ one game advantage, Thunder move into the 3, and Dallas winds up 4th. Hornets win assures them 7. 1 Spurs play 8 Grizzlies (a Hornets win makes their game irrelevant... well, more irrelevant), 2 Lakers play 7 Hornets, 3 Thunder play 6 Blazers, 4 Mavericks play 5 Nuggets. 

In short: 
Lakers win and they get the 2.

Mavericks win and Lakers lose, Mavs get the 2.

Thunder win and Mavericks lose, Thunder get the 3. 

Hornets win, they get the 7.

Grizzlies win and Hornets lose, Grizzlies get the 7. 

Complicated enough for you? Last game of the season, and still so much to decide.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com