Grizzlies 2021 Schedule: Top Games, Updated Championship Odds and Predictions

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 24, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) plays in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

No team has had more games postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic than the Memphis Grizzlies, who had six games moved in January, including a stretch of five straight.

This will make life more difficult for the team down the stretch, as Evan Barnes of the Commercial Appeal wrote. The second half of the season is scheduled for March 10 through May 16, and Memphis will have 41 games during that 67-day span.

It's already been a very difficult year for the Grizzlies.

Jonas Valanciunas, Grayson Allen and De'Anthony Melton were each forced to miss time the league's protocols.

Memphis has also been hit with injuries, with point guard Ja Morant notably missing eight games with a left ankle sprain.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has not played at all after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee in August, and Melton has missed additional time with a left shoulder sprain.

Somehow, the Grizzlies have stayed afloat despite the trials and tribulations of the 2020-21 season, posting a 13-14 mark thus far. They'll be in a fight for the playoffs, but a spot, at minimum, in the play-in tournament is feasible despite the obstacles this team has faced.

Here's a look at the Grizzlies' second-half schedule alongside a prediction on the rest of their season.

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2020-21 Memphis Schedule Details

Second-Half Opener: vs. vs. Washington Wizards, Wednesday, March 10, 8 p.m. ET

Championship Odds (FanDuel): 240-1

Second-Half Schedule: NBA.com

         

Top Matchups

Golden State Warriors (March 19 and 20, May 16)

New Orleans Pelicans (May 10)

A point guard matchup between a budding superstar in Morant and an established one in Golden State Warriors floor general Stephen Curry is always appointment viewing.

The same goes for any game featuring Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, and New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson, who went first overall that year.

However, matchups featuring the Grizzlies against the Pels or Dubs in the second half have added meaning. All three teams are mired in the middle of the Western Conference.

Ideally, they'd like to finish in the top six and avoid having to qualify for the playoffs via the play-in tournament, which will feature the seventh-10th place teams in each conference. Alternatively, Memphis could also be fighting just to get in the top 10. In addition, a Memphis vs. Golden State or Memphis vs. New Orleans game could be a play-in preview.

Ultimately, these matchups should be entertaining and important for the Western Conference's playoff picture.

                         

Season Forecast

The Grizzlies have stayed afloat despite fielding a decimated team for much of the first half of the season. Now everyone is getting healthy, and Jackson could return sometime in the second half of the year, as Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian posited.

Memphis doesn't have tremendous star power like other teams, but it does have excellent depth. Nine players average eight or more points per game, and rookies such as Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman are making positive contributions.

That depth could help get Memphis through this rough second-half stretch that's packed with games. Back-to-backs will be frequent, meaning the Grizzlies may need to use more bodies to avoid over-exerting anyone down the stretch.

In that sense, the first half of the year may have helped in an odd way, as players received some much-needed experience for their own personal growth and development. That could come in handy down the stretch if and when their numbers are called upon.

The Grizz are too talented to avoid making the top 10 at minimum. Avoiding the play-in tournament is perhaps too lofty a goal but expect Memphis to safely land in the seven-eight game after posting a winning record.

Final Record Prediction: 37-35 (No. 8 seed in Western Conference)

        

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