MEMPHIS—Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said the NBA’s Southwest Division is the toughest in professional sports speaking to the media before practice earlier this week.
“I don’t think it’s the toughest division in our league,” said Joerger, “I think it’s the toughest division in all major leagues. Year in, year out, its ridiculous.”
To Joerger’s point, four of the five teams in the Southwest division are playoff bound. The Pelicans, the only division team not currently in the playoff picture, are the first team out. No other Western Conference division has more than two teams in.
Memphis currently holds the #3 seed and sits in second in the Southwest Division behind the Houston Rockets. The Grizzlies lost the #2 spot and division lead after consecutive double-digit losses to Cleveland, Golden State, and San Antonio but bounced back with a 97-83 win over Sacramento on Monday. Memphis is 12-10 after the All-Star Break.
Grizzlies All-Star center Marc Gasol said, “One of our goals is to win our division. I know it doesn’t look that way over the past 21 games.”
Asked about the three game losing streak, Gasol chuckled and said, “Every game I think you learn something whether you like it or not. Whether you want to accept it or not, every game has something to teach you. You might not always like what you learn.”
The Grizzlies face the Oklahoma City Thunder and MVP candidate Russell Westbrook in Memphis on Friday night.