To learn more about the current state of affairs with the Grizzlies, we spoke with Bluff City Media editor Parker Fleming.
1. The Grizzlies are 4-2 since Ja Morant returned to the lineup. How crucial is Morant towards the team’s success in the postseason?
Incredibly crucial. We saw this first hand for a bit last postseason when Morant went down in the series against Golden State. You can win off the depth of your team, but you need a superstar to go far — one that can go and get you a bucket when you desperately need it. With a talent like Morant, he can do that by breaking down the defense as a scorer and playmaker. Getting him back with how the team has been playing is huge for their playoff aspirations.
2. The Grizzlies are two games up on the Kings for the No. 2 seed. How important is it for Memphis to clinch that spot in the standings?
It’s very important because of the homecourt advantage. The Grizzlies have the best home record in the NBA, but are 8 games below .500 on the road. The 2 seed ensures they will play more games at FedEx Forum through at least 2 rounds. For their championship aspirations, they must maintain the 2nd seed.
3. What’s one thing people should know about the Grizzlies that cannot be found in a box score?
Luke Kennard has been the most underrated trade deadline acquisition this season. His 3-point shooting can be found in the box score, and it’s had a transformative impact on the halfcourt offense that’s been in the top-10 in March. He opens up the floor with his shooting gravity, as well as his drive-and-kick attack to generate looks for bigs on the roll or other shooters like Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones.
4. If the Grizzlies lose tonight, what would be the reason?
Either rest, or they don’t take this game seriously. This Portland Trail Blazers team just showed they can surprise teams. They cannot let up just because who’s in town, especially since the 2nd seed can be at stake in this final week of the regular season.
5. What’s your prediction for tomorrow night’s game?
I think the Blazers will put up a fight, but the Grizzlies have too much talent for them to overcome, especially with Memphis being at home. I’ll say it’s a high-scoring game though, 131-114. Grizzlies.