Commentary

Health, luck put Griz in playoff hunt

PER Diem: Jan. 20, 2010

Updated: January 20, 2010, 1:55 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Memphis GrizzliesJoe Murphy/NBAE/Getty ImagesA talented young starting five has Memphis thinking playoffs. ... As long as it can avoid injuries.

It's no surprise that the team with the best record in the West since Nov. 14 is the Lakers, at 25-7.

What is surprising, however, is that the next-best record belongs to Memphis, at 21-10. The Grizzlies began the season 1-8 after an ill-fated dalliance with Allen Iverson. But they have since launched themselves headlong into the Western Conference playoff chase with a series of surprising victories, most recently Monday's nationally televised win over Phoenix. Heading into Wednesday's game with the Hornets, the Grizzlies stand just a half-game out of the eighth seed in the West and just three games out of a top-four playoff seed.

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