MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies are looking to enter the playoffs with a great deal of momentum, and locking up home-court advantage for the opening round may just keep that going.
Also headed to the postseason are the Orlando Magic, but they’re limping to the finish line.
The Grizzlies attempt to tie the longest home winning streak in franchise history as they face the injury-riddles Magic in the regular-season finale at FedExForum on Thursday night.
Memphis (40-25) is one of the hottest teams in the NBA heading into the playoffs, winning 13 of 16 while holding opponents to 91.2 points per game.
The Grizzlies have also been dominant at home, winning 10 in a row there after beating Cleveland 109-101 on Monday to move within one game of their longest winning streak there set from Dec. 18, 2009-Jan. 25, 2010.
Equaling that run would give Memphis home-court in the opening round of the playoffs, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Clippers, who completed their regular season with Wednesday’s 99-93 defeat at New York. A Grizzlies loss would mean starting in Los Angeles since the Clippers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Grizzlies are among the best home teams in the NBA with a 25-7 record.
Things are even clearer for the Magic (37-28), who will finish sixth in the East and face No. 3 Indiana in the first round.
A 5-10 stretch, though, isn’t inspiring much confidence heading into the postseason for Orlando as injuries continue to mount.
The team beat league-worst Charlotte 102-95 on Wednesday, but suffered another blow as forward Glen Davis sprained his right ankle. He is the latest injury to strike the Magic’s roster and drain an already shallow pool of Magic big men following Dwight Howard’s season-ending back surgery last week.
Forward Hedo Turkoglu has missed 10 games with a facial fracture and while X-rays taken on Davis’ ankle were negative, he’s considered day-to-day.
“There was definitely some worry (about Davis),” guard J.J. Redick said. “You immediately think to yourself ‘How are we going to go forward if he’s out for an extended period of time?’ But it sounds like he’ll be back this weekend. Hopefully he’ll have a great recovery.”
Due to the injuries, Redick may play a key role again after scoring a career-high 31 points while connecting on 6 of 10 3-pointers against the Bobcats. He is averaging 16.0 points while hitting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc over the last 10 games – all starts.
The Grizzlies have won eight of their last nine at home against the Magic, including three in a row after a 100-97 victory on Jan. 31, 2011.
Marc Gasol has scored 19 points with eight rebounds in each of the last two home matchups, during which he has made 14 of 19 from the field. The center may play a key role again due to the Magic being thin under the basket.
Tony Allen is looking to build on an impressive performance from Monday, totaling 13 points and eight rebounds while setting a team record with eight steals.
“That’s crazy,” forward Marreese Speights said of Allen’s milestone accomplishment. “But that’s what he does. He plays defense. He’s probably one of the best defenders in the league.”