Memphis Grizzlies Heading Into All-Star Break With Plenty of Momentum

Stephen PattersonCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2011

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies high fives teammate Zach Randolph #50 after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 104-98 in overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Philadelphia 76ers 102-91 last night at the FedEx Forum, the Grizzlies finished off their past fifteen games heading into the All-Star break with a 12-3 record.

That's not too bad, considering Memphis entered the break having lost six out of seven games last season.

Adding to just how impressive that feat is for the Grizzlies is the fact they were missing O.J. Mayo for ten of those fifteen games while he served a suspension for using a banned substance.

Only one of those three losses came at home during the stretch—a 93-84 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers last week—leaving the Grizzlies with a 19-8 home record overall entering the break.

There are all kinds of numbers and statistics that are pointing to even better days for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Do you want one of the more interesting ones to chew on?

Since the Grizzlies came into the league, they have only posted a positive differential between points scored and points allowed three times.

Those three seasons happen to be the three consecutive seasons that the Grizzlies reached the postseason, while the franchise missed the postseason all 13 seasons when they posted a negative differential.

Guess where that differential is heading into the All-Star break this season for the Grizzlies?


The Grizzlies are currently 12th in the NBA in points per game with an average of 99.5, while they are 14th in the league in points allowed at 98.1 per game.

While this stat obviously doesn't prove beyond doubt that people in Memphis should start saving money for playoff tickets, it is a good sign that the Grizzlies are on the right track to reaching the postseason.

If the Grizzlies core can stay healthy, and assuming the front office doesn't make any massive moves involving any of the teams' current starters, they are poised to make a solid run for one of the last few spots in the West this season.

Memphis is currently just half a game behind the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and seventh spots, respectively, in the West.

They also only trail the Portland Trailblazers by one game for the sixth spot and the New Orleans Hornets by two games for the fifth spot, so obviously things are still very much up for grabs.

With only 11 out of their final 25 games coming on the road, the Grizzlies will also have the benefit of playing a lot of important games at home down the stretch. They have played well all season at home so hopefully that trend will continue after the break.

The Grizzlies have also done fairly well this season against some of the top teams in the NBA, having earned two wins apiece against the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Lakers, as well as home victories over the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

The Grizzlies face many questions after this season regarding their future as Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol will both be free agents.

While reports have stated that Gasol will be the Grizzlies' clear number one target during free agency, the team would obviously love to have both players and a surprise playoff run couldn't hurt their chances of trying to perhaps convince both to return.

If everyone continues to play as well as they have during the first half of the season, I definitely expect Memphis to sneak past one or several of the teams currently just ahead of them in the standings.

The core they have right now of Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, Randolph and Gasol clearly is talented enough to not only take the Grizzlies back to the postseason for the first time in five years, but also to break their cursed 0-12 streak (and record) in the playoffs.