The playoff buildup began two weeks ago when the Memphis Grizzlies clinched the No. 2 seed. Following that, the most talked-about topic was Ja Morant’s comeback, and now that he’s back, it’s showtime.
With 56 wins, the Grizzlies tied their franchise-record while also breaking a few other marks. From Dec. 26 to Jan. 13, the team went on an 11-game winning streak. Desmond Bane (3 3-pointers), Jarvis Jackson Jr. (blocks), and Steven Adams (offensive rebounds) have all set single-season Grizzlies records since that time.
The focus is now entirely on the playoffs. The Western Conference is stacked with talented opponents. The Grizzlies (56-26) have the best record in the NBA and will have home-court advantage for at least the first two rounds.
To achieve their aim, the Grizzlies will have to eliminate many of the game’s stars, but they’ve done so for the majority of the season.
Who will be the next in line?
The winner of Tuesday’s Play-In Tournament game between the Minnesota Timberwolves (46-36) and the Los Angeles Clippers will face the Grizzlies. Despite its recent struggles, Minnesota owns two victories over the Grizzlies. The Clippers (42-40) haven’t been as good, but Paul George and Norman Powell have recently returned, giving them perhaps their two greatest healthy scorers.
“I don’t give a damn who we play,” Morant remarked. “During that week stretch, I’m focused on us and getting better. We all approach the games in the same way, regardless of who it is.”
Memphis will face the winner of the Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets showdown in the first round. The Grizzlies defeated the Warriors and Nuggets by a combined score of 6-2. This is a favorable path based on the regular-season record. The Mavericks were 3-1 against the Grizzlies, but as the No. 4 seed, they wouldn’t play again until the Western Conference Finals at the earliest. The Grizzlies’ appearance in the Western Conference Finals would be only their second in team history.
What to Look Out For?
Jenkins must make a decision that he hasn’t had to make often this season. Memphis has one of the finest beaches in the NBA, but in the playoffs, rotations become shorter. Coaches who stick to their regular season rotations are frequently penalized.
Jenkins worked with Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee. Budenholzer didn’t use shorter rotations in the playoffs until the Bucks won the championship last season.
Jenkins’ rotations can reach 10 deep, and he has 11 players who have seen continuous playing time. Morant’s playoff minutes will be different from the 33.1 he’s averaging this season, according to Jenkins. Last postseason, Morant averaged 40.6 minutes per game.
Jenkins will most likely modify his rotations based on how each game feels. Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Melton, and Ziaire Williams will likely compete for bench minutes. Kyle Anderson and Brandon Clarke should keep their spots in the backup frontcourt.
Jenkins stated, “We’ve been dealing with this all season, trying to get guys adjusted.” “It’s crucial to get guys playing with each other as much as possible, but our guys have done a fantastic job all season long playing with mismatch lines.”