Memphis, TN- Memphis Grizzlies' fans are beginning to feel like Duke's Coach K—light headed.
Since January 1, 2014, the Grizzlies are 21-9, but thanks to inconsistent play they remain outside the eighth Western Conference playoffs spot. The battle for the Western Conference playoffs include Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, Goran Dragic and the Phoenix Suns, and the aforementioned Grizzlies.
Here's a recap of the Grizzlies' inconsistency.
- February 22, 2014: Loss to the Charlotte Bobcats 89-92. Post the All Star break, the Grizzlies won two games against the New York Knicks and L.A. Clippers at the FedExForum. The Grizzlies let Charlotte's point-guard Kemba Walker score 31 points without much resistance. Perhaps, the energy spent defeating the L.A. Clippers the night before caused the Grizzlies to lose their second game in two nights. An uncharacteristic 15 turnovers and 22 Charlotte second-chance points buried the Grizzlies.
- February 28, 2014: Loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-113. After losing to Charlotte, the Grizzlies defeated the depleted Los Angeles Lakers at the FedExForum. A short plane ride to Oklahoma City two days later should have given the Grizzlies sufficient rest to challenge Kevin Durant and crew. However, the Thunder never scored less than 26 points in any quarter of the game. Durant scored 37 points with six of those points coming in the last 90 seconds of the game. A laughable three rebounds collected by Marc Gasol and a terrible shooting night by Zach Randolph hindered any chance of a Memphis victory.
- March 5, 2014: Loss to the Brooklyn Nets 94-103. The Grizzlies defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards before falling to Jason Kidd's Brooklyn Nets. During the Wizards' game, the Grizzlies allowed Washington 40 points in the final quarter. Obviously, the Brooklyn Nets studied the previous game's film as the Nets exploded for 54 points in the first half. With Zach Randolph out with flu-like symptoms, the Grizzlies' starters scored 24 points with 18 of those points scored by Marc Gasol.
Thankfully, the Phoenix Suns have been playing inconsistent as well allowing the Grizzlies to stay within range of assuming the Western Conference eighth playoff spot. If the Grizzlies want to continue their three consecutive years of NBA Playoffs appearances, then they must make consistent defensive stops to control opponents' scoring bursts. The Memphis Grizzlies lack the offensive firepower to compete with the best teams; thus, defensive must be the one area of the game they can depend on.
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