With either Dallas or San Antonio as a potential first-round playoff opponent, it’s hard to claim the Memphis Grizzlies are fighting for the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Yet the Grizzlies hope to continue their strong play as they take on the Charlotte Bobcats.
Memphis posted an easy 92-76 win Tuesday over Minnesota—which played without starters and top two scorers Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis—and passed the Los Angeles Clippers into fifth place in the West with the victory.
But fifth in the West could be the worst possible position in the playoffs.
That team will play the Southwest Division runner-up, either the defending NBA champion Spurs or the Mavericks. The Spurs already have 60 wins and Mavs are closing on that number.
The Grizzlies are a combined 1-7 against those Texas teams.
In comparison, the sixth seed will play Northwest Division champion Denver, widely considered the worst division winner and most vulnerable higher-seeded team in the West.
Against Minnesota, Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have lost three straight road games and four of their last five on the road. The 7-foot Spainard has had three double-doubles in his last five games, averaging 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in that span.
The Bobcats have set a season-ending goal of 25 wins, and are three shy of that mark after their 94-88 win Sunday at Toronto.
Four Charlotte players had double-doubles, paced by 11 points and 14 rebounds from Gerald Wallace.
“We don’t want to end on a losing note,” Wallace said. “Our goal is to get to 25 wins. We have 22 wins and five games to go, so we still have an opportunity to get there.”
Charlotte’s undersized backcourt of Brevin Knight and rookie Raymond Felton both contributed double-doubles in points and assists. Knight had 19 points and 10 assists, while Felton added 10 and 12, respectively.
Knight has averaged 15.9 points and 9.4 assists in his last seven games while compiling an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3-to-1.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Grizzlies - 16-22 on the road; Bobcats - 15-23 at home.