Grizzlies stuck in thin air
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
A quick breakdown of the six-game NBA schedule for Saturday, March 16, ranking games by watchability (all times p.m. Eastern):
MUST-WATCH: Memphis Grizzlies (44-20) at Utah Jazz (33-32), 10, NBATV
The NBA loves making teams spend some time in the Rocky Mountains, scheduling roadtrips to the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz on back-to-back nights. It makes practical sense, sure. But it also puts teams such as the Grizzlies in the position of playing in high altitude on consecutive nights against teams that, by no coincidence, tend to dominate at home. Memphis had its run of 14 wins in 15 games ended Friday night by the Nuggets, who are 30-3 at home. Now the Grizzlies get the Jazz, who are 23-8 at home. Utah needs to win this one because it is the team out right now in the very tense Western Conference playoff race, a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers. But Memphis needs to win because it is tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the crucial No. 3 seed that provides a much easier first-round matchup.
2. Charlotte Bobcats (14-51) at Boston Celtics (35-29), 7:30
If you’re doing a double-take, don’t. These teams played Tuesday in Charlotte, with the Bobcats stunning the Celtics in a 100-74 rout. But Boston turned around and blasted the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and has had two days off to think about this home game, which precedes a Monday meeting with the streaking Miami Heat.
3. Indiana Pacers (40-25) at Philadelphia 76ers (24-40), 7:30, NBATV
The Pacers kept hobbled Kobe Bryant in check but still lost Friday night. Hobbled Andrew Bynum won’t play this one.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-43) at San Antonio Spurs (50-16), 8:30
We’d all rather see Tony Parker play Kyrie Irving in one-on-one, but instead we get their teams without them because of injuries.
5. Phoenix Suns (22-44) at Washington Wizards (22-42), 7
This game has serious lottery stakes, though both teams have been hurting their draft picks by succeeding lately.
6. Detroit Pistons (23-44) at Portland Trail Blazers (30-34), 10
Every time the Blazers win, they continue their false hope of getting back into the playoff race.