Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Tuesday, April 15, the morning after the Memphis Grizzlies completed the playoff field by beating the Phoenix Suns.
It was a remarkable turnabout for the Grizzlies, who were 13-16 and in 12th place in the Western Conference at the end of play on Dec. 28. Since then, Memphis is 36-16 and has zoomed past the Pelicans, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Suns in the standings, with a chance to add Dallas to that list in what comes down to a winner-takes-seventh showdown Wednesday night at Memphis’ FedExForum.
It’s the first time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have made the postseason for four consecutive seasons, dating to 2011. They had a three-year run from 2004-06 in which they lost in the first round each season without winning a game.
The Grizzlies could still get to 50 wins with a win Wednesday, which would be just the third 50-win season in franchise history and mark the first time they’ve done it in back-to-back years (Memphis won a franchise-record 56 games last year before advancing to its first Western Conference Finals).
The key to the turnaround was center Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies are 39-19 with Gasol in the lineup but were just 10-13 during the time he was out with a sprained knee from Nov. 23-Jan. 13.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has averaged 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 blocked shots in the 58 games he’s played this season.
Memphis will either play San Antonio or Oklahoma City in the first round, which could be tough; the Grizzlies were 0-4 this year against the Spurs and 1-2 against the Thunder.
The Daily NBA Fix will deliver highlights, game capsules, the top and bottom five players, the dreaded Goose Egg, Clean and Sober and Ironman awards, we’ll recap who’s circling the drain, there will be some interesting pieces of relevant (and not-so-relevant) information and we’ll look at today’s daily lines for those people who like to wager a buck or two.
Check out the highlights below from the night that was, then get into the game capsules (home teams in CAPS).