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Grizzlies and Suns vs. April: Scouting the opposing schedules

The Mavericks started off April on a sour note with another overtime loss, this time to Golden State. We know they face a tough schedule, but let's look at the other two Western Conference playoff hopefuls.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies (44-30) and Phoenix Suns (44-30) are currently in a tie for thefinal two spots in the West playoffs with the Dallas Mavericks (44-31) a half game behind them.

Both the Grizzlies and Suns have eight games remaining to the Mavericks' seven. Here's a breakdown of each team's remaining schedule this month.

Memphis Grizzlies (44-30)

Wednesday, April 2nd at the Minnesota Timberwolves - Hard - The Wolves are the one team that can counter the Grizzlies physical frontline. Minnesota isn't playing for a playoff spot, but expect them to still put up a fight for the remainder of the season.

Friday, April 4th vs the Denver Nuggets - Medium - The Nuggets are small (thanks to injuries), so expect them to try to speed up the game against half court oriented Grizzlies.

Sunday, April 6th at the San Antonio Spurs - Very Hard - The last team anyone wants to face, especially when every win counts. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Co. have been on scorching.

Wednesday, April 11th vs the Miami Heat - Very Hard - Depending on how the Grizzlies fare leading up to this game, a must win against LeBron James and the defending champs is not ideal.

Friday, April 11th vs the Philadelphia 76ers - Easy - A great bounce back game after facing the Spurs and Heat. No way the Grizzlies lose to a team that is in the hunt for Andrew Wiggins.

Sunday, April 13th at the Los Angeles Lakers - Medium - Nick Young and the Lakers are looking to play spoilers as they crush opposing team's playoff hopes. We just saw them dismantle the Suns; could the Grizzlies be next?

Monday, April 14th at the Phoenix Suns - Hard - On the second night of a BTB, the Grizzlies will have to leave it all on the court against the pesky Suns. Expect Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic to push the pace.

Wednesday, April 16th vs the Dallas Mavericks -Very Hard- Currently 0-3 against the Mavericks, the Grizzlies will have to find a way to get a win against the as desperate Mavericks. To make matters worse, tough to see Dirk Nowitzki not coming up big in a potential do-or-die game.

Phoenix Suns (44-30)

Wednesday, April 2nd vs the Los Angeles Clippers - Medium - The Suns have lost the last two games against "Lob City," but they may catch a huge break with Blake Griffin (Back Spasms) and Jamal Crawford (Achilles) listed as doubtful.

Friday, April 4th at the Portland Trailblazers - Hard - With LaMarcus Aldridge back and healthy, the Blazers seem to gotten out of their recent funk. Aldridge and Damian Lillard will put the pressure on the Suns' defense.

Sunday, April 6th vs the Oklahoma City Thunder - Very Hard - Good luck stopping Kevin Durant. What is it now, 100 straight games of over 25 points this season for Durant? Also, pretty sure the Thunder are looking to repay the favor from their last meeting when they gave up a 16 point lead.

Wednesday, April 9th at the New Orleans Pelicans - Medium - If you didn't know, the Pelicans have a great player who goes by the name Anthony Davis. A big game from him can make this a close game.

Friday, April 11th at the San Antonio Spurs - Very Hard - These guys are really good if you haven't caught on yet. I wonder if they will still have their winning streak going by now?

Saturday, April 12th at the Dallas Mavericks -Very Hard - On the second night of a back-to-back, on the road, and going up against Nowitzki in a must win for both sides? The young Suns will have their first taste of the playoffs against the veteran Mavericks.

Monday, April 14th vs the Memphis Grizzlies - Very Hard - Chris Kaman dominated the Suns interior defense. What do you expect Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to do on the insde? The Grizzlies will be on the second night of a btb, so the Suns must push the tempo on the Grizzlies.

Wednesday, April 16th at the Sacramento Kings - Medium - DeMarcus Cousins on the inside and Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas on the perimeter, expect the Kings to challenge the Suns in this season finale matchup.

Rami Michail (@RamiMichail) is at Cal State Fullerton majoring in Kinesiology. You can find him at (Editor), (Writer) and here at (Contributor).