After a season-long battle to see who would end up with the eighth and final seed of the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies proved to be the winner of the coveted position – relatively speaking – on Monday after beating the Phoenix Suns 97-91.
Unlike teams in the East, where some barely over .500 or even under it made it into the playoffs, the Suns will go home early despite an impressive 47-34 record – good enough to be the fifth best team in the East. They overcame many odds to get to this point, but none bigger than a whopping 40 games missed from Eric Bledsoe. In all likelihood, another team would be on the outside looking in had the speedy guard not been out for so long. The same can arguably be said of the Grizzlies, who had to play without their defensive anchor Marc Gasol for 23 games.
At least Memphis is healthy going into the playoffs, which is a luxury that the Golden State Warriors, who clinched the sixth seed after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, suddenly don’t have after learning of Andrew Bogut’s devastating rib injury.