Top stats to know: The surging Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies will be making their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Last season, they made it to the Western Conference Finals, their best finish in franchise history.

How important is it for the Grizzlies to win tonight against the Dallas Mavericks and avoid a first-round matchup with the Spurs by taking the No. 7 seed?

Memphis went 0-4 against San Antonio during the regular season. The Grizzlies went 1-3 against the Thunder and 2-1 against the Clippers.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that there have been 55 instances in which a team was swept 4-0 or worse in the regular season and then went on to face that opponent in the postseason. The team that swept the regular-season series went on to win 51 of those 55 postseason meetings.

What else do you need to know about the Grizzlies, who rank among the NBA’s hottest teams?

The Grizzlies are 0-3 against the Mavericks this season, losing by an average of 13.4 PPG. Dallas is averaging 31.3 free throw attempts per game over the three games, 10.6 more than the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies have won 13 consecutive home games, tied for their longest single-season streak in franchise history (won 13 straight last season). Prior to this streak, the Grizzlies were just 13-14 at home for the season.

Nine coaches made their NBA head-coaching debut this season. Dave Joerger’s .605 win percentage is the best among those nine rookie head coaches. Dating back to 1950-51, only three rookie head coaches won a title: George Senesky with the 195-56 Warriors, Paul Westhead with the 1979-80 Lakers and Pat Riley with the 1981-82 Lakers.

In addition to Joerger – rookie head coaches Jason Kidd, Steve Clifford and Mike Budenholzer will be in the playoffs.

The Grizzlies entered Jan. 1 in 12th place in the Western Conference with a 13-17 record but have gone 36-15 since that date, tied for the 3rd-best record in the NBA. In that time, their opponents’ points per game has dropped from 97.2 to 92.8.

The Grizzlies are allowing just 100.0 points per 100 possessions, third- fewest in the league dating back to Jan. 1.

Points Allowed Per 100 Possessions
Fewest Since Jan. 1

Memphis was allowing 105.5 points per 100 possessions through Dec. 31st, which ranked 25th in that category.

A big reason why Memphis had to dig itself out of a hole was the Grizzlies were without Marc Gasol for much of the first half of the season. Gasol missed 23 straight games spanning Nov. 25 to Jan. 12 and the Grizzlies went just 10-13.

Grizzlies With and Without Gasol
This Season

Gasol is also averaging 3.6 assists per game this season, 2nd most in the NBA among centers behind Joakim Noah (5.4).

The Grizzlies play at the slowest pace in the league, averaging just 92.3 possessions per 48 minutes. They aren’t too wrapped up in the 3-point craze as a league-high 83.0 percent of their attempts come from 2-point range.

Memphis is averaging 47.5 points in the paint per game, fourth-most in the NBA. The Grizzlies are outscoring opponents by a league-leading 8.9 points in the paint per game.

It’s important to get out in transition against Memphis. The Grizzlies allow 1.14 points per play in transition, ranking 21st in that category – while they only yield 0.89 points per play in the half-court, seventh-best in the league.