Grizzlies Claw for Playoffs

The season is winding down as most teams have less than ten games to play before the playoffs begin.

Teams at the top are grappling for position or the right chemistry heading into the playoffs, but the most entertainment is with the teams that are cementing their playoff positions and tantalizing match ups in the first round.

As of right now, the first round would see New York vs Boston, the unpredictable Heat vs the upstart, team oriented Sixers and the now healthy Portland Trail Blazers versus the steady Dallas Mavericks. Whether or not the seeds hold is another matter.

Team of the Week: Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have managed to get by despite Rudy Gay having not played a game since Feb. 15. Zach Randolph is putting together a season worthy of this year’s Most Improved Player Award averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds per game.

After a slow start to the season, Memphis has recovered going 8-5 for the month of March heading into tonight’s game versus Golden State. Thus far, they’ve beaten the likes of Boston, Utah, Oklahoma City, Dallas and San Antonio, including not one but two victories over the Spurs in that span.

Former Celtic Tony Allen has proven crucial for the Grizzlies averaging 15 points and three steals per game over the last three games. In that time, the Grizzlies have given themselves a 2.5 game cushion over the Rockets for the eight seed and are one game back of the injury rocked Hornets for the seven seed. The x-factor is OJ Mayo. If he can live up to his potential and deliver a solid string of performances in the next few weeks, the absence of Rudy Gay may not cost them.

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Player of the Week: Gerald Wallace- Portland Trail Blazers

After his mid-season move to Portland from Charlotte, Wallace picked up the Trial Blazers offense quickly. Acquired to give the ailing organization some more fire power for their playoff run, Wallace started out coming off the bench but was always expected to see significant minutes. In the last week, Wallace has averaged more than 38 minutes per game in which he has given the team an average of 27.3 ppg to go with eight rebounds. If Portland is going to be relevant in the playoffs, Wallace will have to continue his stellar play.

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Dunk of the Week: Alonzo Gee- Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland fans will ultimately look back on this season as a dark time in the organization’s history, but one bright spot will shine through. The team’s twelve point victory over Miami on Tuesday night didn’t erase the pain of losing LeBron James, but it will go a long way toward washing the bitter taste out of their mouths. Gee’s slam was a momentum ceiling putting them up by 16 points.

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Block of the Week: JaVale McGee- Washington Wizards

Last time McGee faced Blake Griffin in Los Angeles, Griffin jumped over a car to breeze by McGee to his first slam dunk title. During this match-up, McGee wasn’t going to be beaten a again. Almost as amazing, it’s the first occasion Griffin has made a highlight reel as a victim.

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Assist of the Week: Derrick Rose- Chicago Bulls

Rose may be a scoring point guard, but plays like this are the reason no one doubts his passing ability. Likely this season’s MVP, Rose can’t stay out of the highlight reel for one reason or another. This week it’s his court vision.

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Trick Shot of the Week: Emeka Okafur- New Orleans Hornets

After losing David West, the Hornets need every break they can get to keep their hopes of postseason basketball alive. Here, Okafur tosses up a last second prayer against the Jazz. New Orleans went on to win 121-117 in overtime.

About David Rice

David Rice is a freelance reporter currently working in the Tampa Bay area for the Tampa Bay Times and is the NBA Editor of Opposing Views. He has written articles covering everything from sports and local music to local politics and business. Rice has also worked for Sam's Army, the official supporters group of the U.S. national soccer team for the last six years as a writer.

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