Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/23/14
This weekend was one that the Memphis Grizzlies must have had marked on their calendars for a long time. On back to back nights, the Grizzlies were scheduled to face the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, the two best teams in the Eastern Conference.  The Grizzlies have been playing excellent basketball since the All-Star break and have shown that they deserve to be in the playoffs. Unfortunately, due to injuries earlier in the playoffs, it is highly likely that they will need to settle for a very low seed in the playoffs, meaning that they will have to face these elite teams consistently in the playoffs in order to win the NBA championship. Until now, the Grizzlies had yet to prove that they were able to hang with elite teams, as they have failed to beat many of the best teams in the league. So the Grizzlies needed to prove that they had the ability to stay competitive with these teams if they wanted to do anything other than lose in the first round of the playoffs. And while this weekend wasn’t perfect for the Grizzlies, their very strong play shows that a healthy team is can be a serious challenge for whoever faces them moving forward. Zach Randolph, starting power forward for the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite losing against the Heat on Friday, March 21, the Grizzlies played some excellent basketball and gave the Heat a run for their money. They were able to contain the two biggest stars on the Heat, Dwayne Wade and reigning MVP LeBron James, for almost the whole game, as neither player had scored more than 10 points entering the last minutes of the game. When the Heat were able to get past the Grizzlies’ defense, the team would almost always respond back and negate the points the Heat had just put up. Finally, while the Grizzlies as a whole played strong offensive, some special recognition is deserved for Zach Randolph, who scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help delay the Heat’s comeback for as long as he could.  Unfortunately, some excellent shots by Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers helped get the Heat close enough where James and Wade could start making some late game shots to come back and win the game. However, the fact that the Grizzlies had control of the majority of the game shows that they are able to play up to the level of competition that their opponents will be playing at in the playoffs. If their loss against the Heat showed that they can compete with elite teams, then the Grizzlies’ victory against the Pacers on Saturday, March 22 proved that the they can decimate some of the same teams that are considered among the best in the league. The game started with a strong 11-3 run for the Grizzlies in the first 4 minutes of the game. Although the Pacers were able to catch up from this run, they had no answers for the Grizzlies’ offense in the second quarter, where they were able to score 22 points in comparison to the Pacers’ 13. Added to the 17 points the Pacers scored in the first quarter, the Grizzlies were able to hold their opponents to a miniscule 30 points in the first half. The rest of the game saw the continuation of strong defensive play by the Grizzlies. Whenever the Pacers were able to score, the Grizzlies were almost always able to respond with their own points, just like how they were able to against the Heat. The Pacers were only able to make 36.5% of their shots from the field and were only able to put up 71 points, their lowest point total in any game this season. And although it would be wrong to ignore the fact that the Pacers themselves played some good defense throughout the game, they couldn’t do much to stop Mike Conley, whose 21 points and his field goal percentage of 60% helped make sure that the Grizzlies’ 82 points were enough to overcome the Pacers. While it is great that the Grizzlies proved that that they can compete with some of the best teams in the league, they are going to have to keep up this level of play for the rest of the season. They will be facing some tough opponents in their 14 remaining games, including a rematch against the Heat. The Grizzlies will also be tested against the San Antonio Spurs, who currently have 53 wins, the most in the NBA at this point. Finally, the Grizzlies’ last two games will be against the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks, the two teams who are fighting alongside the Memphis Grizzlies for the last two playoff spots. But if the Grizzlies can continue to play at this level, they have the potential to be anything but a pushover in both the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. The post Memphis Grizzlies: strong weekend continues forward momentum towards playoffs appeared first on isportsweb.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Kevin Durant has...RUSSELL MANIA!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Browns wanted ‘second-round pick and then some’ for Gordon

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Grizzlies News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker