NBA Matchup: Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls

Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls Fri. March 25, 2011 8 p.m. EST

With the NBA playoffs just around the corner, the Chicago Bulls have cemented themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics were given a lot of attention as the best team in the league earlier in the season, but once they made the deal to send Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder they have really struggled as of late seem to of loss that edge that they’ve had all year long.

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With that being said, the Chicago Bulls have taken advantage of this opportunity to move up in Eastern Conference and snatch the number one seed away from Boston Celtics. There are still a few games left in the NBA regular season and anything can happen from here on out as the Chicago Bulls could lose their grip on the number one seed in the East, but with the way their playing right now I really don’t see that happening as All-Star point guard Derrick Rose is almost certainly going to win the NBA MVP award and continue to lead his team to victory.

On Friday night, the Chicago Bulls will be hosting the Memphis Grizzlies in what could be a very competitive game between one of the elite squads in the league and a team looking to make the playoffs in the final stretch of the NBA regular season.

Coming into this match up with the Grizzlies, the Bulls have won two straight and nine of their last 10 games as they are arguably the hottest team in the league just behind two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. With that being said, Chicago see

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ms to be firing on all cylinders right now at they are shooting the clinch the top spot in the Eastern Conference and hold off a very resilient Boston Celtics team.

Along with the fact that they are playing some very good basketball right now, the Chicago Bulls of also benefited from the Boston Celtics really start to struggle as Kevin Garnett and company have only won five of their last 10 games and a longer look like a dominant team they were just no more than month ago.

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So coming into this matchup both of these teams will have agendas as the Chicago Bulls will look to stay hot and get one step closer to clinching the number one seed in the Eastern Conference while the Memphis Grizzlies will be attempting to keep their playoff hopes alive and stay in the eighth spot in the Western Conference. One thing watch in this game will be the matchups in the backcourt as Derrick Rose and Mike Conley Jr. will be going head-to-head.

Even though the Memphis Grizzlies have been a team on the rise as of late, I believe the Chicago Bulls should get yet another win stretched their winning streak to three in a row. If the Chicago Bulls can stay hot from here on out, they will be extremely tough to be in the Eastern Conference playoffs a real thorn in the side for teams like Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics

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Can the Grizzlies upset the Spurs in the playoffs?

The NBA regular season is hitting the final stretch as they are coming to the end of March in starting one of the key months of the season in April. Usually around this time, the playoff seeding in both conferences are pretty much set as most of us get a good idea of what teams will be facing off in the first round.

As right now, the Eastern Conference has the best idea of what seems playoff bound as there are four teams within the conference that aborted plans playoff spots. With the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic clinched in their spots already, but only four spots left in the East and things could get interesting has teams will be battling it out for a chance to play the elite in this conference.

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The Western Conference on the other hand is looking much different right now has only one team in the conference has been held to clinch a playoff spot. With the San Antonio Spurs continuing their remarkable season with just 13 losses so far in over 70 games, Tim Duncan and company have been the first team in the West to post their tickets the playoffs.

Even though the seeding in the Western Conference can go up and down from here on out, the consensus at this point in time is the Spurs will walk up the number one seed and face off against the eighth seed in the West when it is all said and done.

As it always is, the eighth seed in both conferences usually tend to stay open until the final week of the NBA regular season. In the West there seems to be a tight race between the Memphis Grizzlies (37-31), Utah Jazz (36-33), Houston Rockets (35-34) and maybe even the Phoenix Suns (33-33).

Obviously, but the records shown above, the Memphis Grizzlies look to have the best chance of locking up that eighth spot and facing the San Antonio Spurs in the first round playoffs. This could be good news and it could be bad news for the Grizzlies as they have played exceptionally well recently, but will definitely have their work cut out for them against a very good Spurs squad.

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In my opinion, even though they probably won’t be thought to do much damage chance arguably the best team in league, the Grizzlies have a chance to pull off the upset as a matter pretty well with the Spurs.

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It is a bit of a stretch at this point in time to say that the Memphis Grizzlies could give the San Antonio Spurs a run for their money in the first round playoffs, but I wouldn’t count them out as it seems prudent to be extremely resilient when pushed up against a wall.

This matchup could easily change come playoff time, but with the way both teams are playing right now, I would anticipate this being the first round matchup between the first and eighth seed in the Western Conference.

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What’s the key to the Thunder’s sudden resurgence?

Ryan Ward - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

The Thunder will make their first playoff appearance in its young existence. Oklahoma City is currently the sixth seed in the west but are locked in a three-way battle with the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. Well, it doesn’t really matter what seed they will end up in because the Thunder are young, athletic and skilled, which makes them a very dangerous first-round opponent.

Obviously, their success can be attributed by the sudden explosion of Kevin Durant. Durant went from rising star last season to an MVP candidate. He will likely win his first scoring title this season. Forward Jeff Green is averaging 15 points a ball game and Russell Westbrook is having a career year. These three young guns are a big reason why the Thunder find themselves in the playoffs.

It’s their offense that gets a lot of recognition, but its actually the Thunder’s defense which makes them dangerous. The Thunder allows only 97.6 points a game, which is good enough for 11th in the league. There’s not one individual on Oklahoma City that is a great defender. But as a team the Thunder are a cohesive, effective defensive unit.

Against the highest scoring team in the league, the Phoenix Suns, the Thunder held them to their lowest scoring output in the second half – the Suns scored only 34 points. The young Oklahoma City Thunder also held the Suns under 100 points. Two-time MVP Steve Nash and All-star Amar’e Stoudemire were forced into committing five combined turnovers.

All you need to know about what the Thunder defense did to the Suns offense is this: the Suns shot 58 percent in first and second quarters. After that, Phoenix shot only 31 percent. Durant and Green had seven steals – amazing considering they are both forwards.

This years Thunder reminds us much of last seasons Portland Trail Blazers. Exciting crowd, budding superstar in Durant (in the Blazers case Brandon Roy), and a core group of young talented guys. All of this resulted in first-round fodder.

Durant, in particular, had no turnovers on his way to scoring 35 points. It’s been a joy to watch Durant this season. There are already talks that is he the second best player in the league – yes, in front of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard. This statement might be a reach considering Durant has played at this level for only one season. Plus, greatness can’t be measured during the season, it is seen where it counts – in the playoffs.

Durant and the Thunder will get the opportunity to prove exactly that as they make their first playoff appearance in history.

Can the Rockets or the Grizzlies clinch the eight spot in the West?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

Every single season in the NBA Western Conference proves to be the most competitive, at least as of late, with plenty of teams that are legitimate playoff teams throughout the entire season. This year is no different as 11 teams in the conference could quite possibly battling it out or playoff spot in the second half of the season.

At this point in time no ways going to touch the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers as a the best record in the conference and are at least three games ahead of anybody behind them. Along with the Lakers the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets also look like teams in the untouchable category as they have also shown the dominant this season and look to be battling it out between each other for the number two and number three spots in the West.

Other than that, all the other spots in the Western Conference from 4 to 8 seem to be up for grabs and will be moving back and forth until the 82nd game of the season has been played teams in the West.

Just below the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference is the Utah Jazz who have played extremely well this season and prove that they haven’t lost a step with All-Star point guard Deron Williams and forward Carlos Boozer leading the way. Despite playing brilliant basketball this season, Williams and company will have their work cut out for them second half of the season as Kevin Durant and his boys are slowly but surely working up the standings and threatening to take over the four spot.

The five through eight spots in the Western Conference are as competitive as can be as all four of these teams can easily go up or down in the seeding come playoff time. As of right now the Oklahoma City thunder on the five spot being almost dead even Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns as they are both seven games back from the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

After Phoenix there are the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers that round of the pack in the West at seven and eight. Much like the seeds for them, the Blazers and the Spurs are only a few games apart and could very well eventually get knocked out of the playoffs if they struggle late in the season and let teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets take their place.

On the outside looking in you have the Grizzlies, Rockets and the New Orleans Hornets who are on the verge of dropping below .500 and being completely out of contention, but these teams have played very well in stretches despite being extremely streaky at times.

The Portland Trail Blazers are a good team this season, but they have once again struggled with injuries to players like Greg Oden and their superstar guard Brandon Roy. With that being said I believe that the Grizzlies or the Rockets could very well get their chance to clinch the eight spot if they continue to play well in the second half of the season while the Blazers continue to struggle with nagging injuries to key players like Brandon Roy.

If these two teams do get a chance to knock off the Blazers were the Spurs if they fall to the eighth spot, I believe it will be the Memphis Grizzlies who are able to do it as they look like a team just rejuvenated this season with Zach Randolph leading the way in the paint arguably his best season as a Pro.