MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Twenty-six games are all that's left for the Memphis Grizzlies this season.
The Grizz are back from the NBA All-Star Break for the stretch run with playoff plans off the table for the first time in 8 years.
Memphis, at 18-38, is in a hot race for the bottom of the league standings to try and win a place at the top of the DraftLottery.
Earning that distinction runs counter to trying to win games, but center Marc Gasol says personal pride in one's own play should take precedent.
"You can't find excuses why not to play hard." Gasol said. "You've got to find reasons why you should play hard, and first of all it's your job, and there's a lot of people supporting the team. I don't see any reasons why people should not play hard. Whatever the goal or whatever the record is. Whenever the season ends, it doesn't matter. Somebody that doesn't play hard, that doesn't believe in the team, doesn't deserve to be here."
The Grizzlies jump right into the fire, hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at FedExForum.