What to know as Memphis Grizzlies begin NBA playoff run
Now that the Memphis Grizzlies' excellent regular season is over, all eyes are on how far they can go in the NBA playoffs.
The Grizzlies won a franchise-record 56 games and are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They haven't won a playoff series since 2015 but that can change as they'll be as one of the top contenders to reach the NBA Finals
Here's a look back at how they got to this point and what to watch for when the playoffs begin this weekend.
How did the Grizzlies get here?
The Grizzlies started the season 9-10 but after Nov. 28, they won 10 of their next 11 games with Ja Morant out with a sprained left knee. One of those wins was an NBA-record setting 73-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
On Dec. 26, the Grizzlies began a franchise record 11-game winning streak. That included wins over the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and twice over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The streak put the Grizzlies in third place in the West where they stayed until March 5 when a win moved them into second place. After swapping spots with the Warriors over nine days, the Grizzlies moved to second for good on March 15.
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Where to buy playoff tickets
The Grizzlies’ website has all the ticket information through Ticketmaster. But be warned. As of Monday, the lower bowl seats and Pinnacle level seats at FedExForum are nearly sold out for Games 1 and 2.
Who will the Grizzlies face in playoffs?
The Grizzlies will know their first-round opponent Tuesday night after the first day of the NBA play-in tournament. They'll host the winner of the Minnesota Timberwolves hosting the Los Angeles Clippers (8:30 p.m., TNT)
The Grizzlies split the season series with the Timberwolves at 2-2 and the home team won each game. They had better success against the Clippers, winning all four games.
How healthy is Ja Morant?
Ja Morant took a leap into superstar status by making his first All-Star team. He’s set career highs in several categories, including points per game, 3-point shooting and field goal shooting while electrifying the NBA with sensational highlights.
Yet Morant also missed significant time with a career-low 57 games due to injuries. Besides the sprained knee, he was out nine games near the end of the season with right knee soreness. Despite that, the Grizzlies were 20-5 without him
Can he avoid another serious injury attacking the paint as often as he does? While the Grizzlies won with him out, their ceiling with Morant is much higher so staying healthy could be as important as any factor this postseason.
Can the Grizzlies’ supporting cast deliver?
Jaren Jackson Jr. stayed healthy and led the league in total blocks and blocks per game. Desmond Bane ranked in the NBA’s top 10 in both 3-point shooting and free throw percentage while nearly doubling his scoring average from his rookie season.
Six different Grizzlies averaged double figures in scoring. Transition play, defense and balance has made them dangerous and exciting in the regular season. But can it carry over in the playoffs when the game slows down and teams make coaching adjustments?
The Grizzlies lost in five games to the Utah Jazz in the first round last season? For them to make a deeper run, it will take more than just Morant's brilliance.
What makes Grizzlies so dominant?
Besides Morant and a deep rotation, the Grizzlies have thrived on hustle plays and defense. They're the first team to lead the NBA in rebounding, steals and blocks in a season since steals and blocks became an official stat in 1973-74.
The Grizzlies are also second in the NBA in scoring (115.7 points per game) and one of only two teams in top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They also lead the league in paint points, second-chance points and fast break points.
It's made them an exciting team to watch but also one of the best in the league with 14 wins by at least 25 points. Now it needs to continue in the playoffs if they hope to match the 2012-13 team's run to the Western Conference Finals.
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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Grizzlies in NBA playoffs: What to know about tickets, matchup