by Brett Edwards
This is the phrase I've seen in a few places that refers to teams tanking regular season games to secure a certain position in or out of the playoffs. For example, we mentioned the fact that Minnesota seemed to be resting KG for no other reason than to secure a bottom 10 record, and therefore keep their draft pick they received in the Sam Cassell trade. This one seems serious, as the NBA is actually investigating this (see "Briefly", bottom of page).
We also have discussion of this regarding seeding in the West. Might the Clippers and Grizzlies attempt to slide from 5th to 6th to avoid Dallas (likely) or San Antonio (possibly)? The Blog Maverick discussed it, and so have many others. What hasn't been mentioned though is that it's virtually impossible for the Grizz to tank their last few games, based on their schedule.
The Grizz payed MIN at home last night, and the T'Wolves were missing KG and Ricky Davis (their two leading scorers). Result: 16-point MEM win. Tonight they play at Charlotte, whose record is only one game better than Portland, who has the worst record in the NBA. Memphis may try, but they will have a very tough time losing to CHA unless they intentionally turn the ball over like 30 times. Let's call that one a W. Their next game is at HOU, who has nobody left since now T-Mac and Yao are done for the year. Again, tough to lose that one even if they try. Next game at home versus the Clippers. As we discussed in our last podcast, we may actually see David Stern in attendance to physically threaten both teams. The Clippers though have many "injured" players, including Sam Cassell, Corey Maggette, and Vladimir Radmanovic, so they may want the L a little more. Last game for MEM is the next night at MIN, and you know how that's turning out.
I won't go into as much detail regarding the Clippers, except to say their schedule involves a home and home with Seattle, and then road games at MEM and DAL. Combine this with their current crop of "injuries" and the Clips can much more easily drop most of those games, and consequently into the 6th spot.
Look for the Clippers to face Denver and for Memphis to face Dallas (or San Antonio) in the first round of the playoffs. Either of those match-ups for the Grizz would make it extremely difficult for John Hollinger to be correct, which is just fine with us.