Raptors Vs. Grizzlies Recap and Chances At The Playoffs
On 6th February 2023, the Toronto Raptors squared off in the FedExForum Arena in Memphis against the Grizzlies, winning by 106 to 103 points. It was a hard-fought away win considering that in the third quarter, the Raptors were 15 points down and the underdogs.
Most bookmakers priced the odds in favour of the Memphis Grizzlies winning, but a stunning turnaround changed the outcome in the last few minutes. Some of the best sports betting sites offer live betting, and those who placed bets on the Raptors in the last 20 minutes cashed in on high odds.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, the Raptors made a hard-fought comeback that saw a dramatic last 59 seconds to seal the win. Raptors forward Scottie Barnes scored crucial points in the game’s final seconds as his team held on defensively for their second win in six games. Many topics were taken from this game, seeing the Memphis Grizzlies lose their second consecutive game. Most analysts observed this result for the playoffs in 2023.
The Grizzlies missed their superstar and leading scorer, Ja Morant, while Dillon Brooks served a suspension. Starter Steven Adams also missed through a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines.
On the other hand, the Raptors had no notable absentees and a strong starting side. The Memphis Grizzlies led through most of the game until the last quarter when the turnaround happened. With 5.2 seconds remaining on the clock, Jaren Jackson Jr. missed a 3-pointer meaning the game would have ended in a draw, another positive for the Grizzlies to take from the result.
Toronto Raptors have had a tumultuous season with one of the worst defensive records in the NBA. It was, therefore, surprising that they pulled off such an upset considering the Grizzlies now sit second in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, with the Dallas Mavericks in first place. On the other hand, the Raptors sit at the bottom (5th) of the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference.
It is a result that has brought a debate on the 2023 playoffs, which are about two months away. An in-form Memphis Grizzlies is poised to make the playoffs this year from the Western Conference.
As for the Toronto Raptors, they have a slim chance of going through, provided they keep their recent hot streak, avoid injuries to their crucial players like Pascal Siakam, and have a favourable schedule. They are contending for a place against the Boston Celtics (1st), Brooklyn Nets (3rd), New York Knicks (4th), and the Philadelphia 76ers (2nd).
With about 75% of the games already played, these final months of the season have a hectic fixture list. They must maintain their winning streak and hope that other severe contenders in their conference, such as the Brooklyn Nets, falter. They could also beat them in their subsequent encounter and climb up the rankings.
Only the top eight teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. However, only six advance based on their winning percentage, while the 7th through 10th placed teams compete in a play-in tournament to determine the seventh and eighth seeds. The Toronto Raptors need wins to make it to the final play-in spot of tenth place but a long way from sixth place, which is a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
Based on the current form table, if the Raptors finish 10th, they face the 9th-placed team at the play-in tournament elimination fixture. The winner faces off with the loser between the 7th and 8th placed teams in a qualification game to determine the seventh seed. This qualification format gives them a slim chance at the title, although, as per their performances this season, they will be considered underdogs.
The Memphis Grizzlies are just about guaranteed to show up at the grand stage in the NBA postseason. Most analysts have given them a reasonable chance to win the finals. A core factor is that they should keep their best player, Ja Morant, fit and scoring, and he might be MVP. Other keynote factors could include injuries to key players from other serious contenders.
One of the MVPs (Most Valuable Players) in the past season, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, has incurred an injury that might disrupt their season. They are the defending champions, and his presence helped inspire them to victory.
The player trades some of the teams will make could either strengthen or weaken the team before the playoffs. In the case of the Memphis Grizzlies, they are looking to strengthen, which could give them a clear shot at the title.
The Raptors hope to rediscover their form, while the Grizzlies are planning to win their first-ever NBA Championship. Either way, it is bound to be an explosive tournament with the most prominent players in the league locking horns.
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