Memphis Grizzlies-Golden State Warriors: Is It Too Soon for a Must-Win Game?

A. Enslen ButlerContributor INovember 4, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 30:  Ronny Turiaf #21 of the Golden State Warriors defends against Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies during an NBA game on March 30, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Wednesday's Memphis Grizzlies-Golden State Warriors tilt will not be the highlight game on the NBA schedule.

But, in this early NBA season, this is being billed as a "must-win" for Golden State (0-2), according to the San Francisco Chronicle .

Warriors coach Don Nelson will be changing his starting lineup tonight as he will start Steven Jackson, a 6-8 forward, at power forward and Kelenna Azubuike will make his first start at small forward.

That lineup should give Memphis (1-3) a big edge in the front court as they have out-rebounded all four opponents this season.

The Grizzlies lead the NBA in total rebounds (47.5), are tied for first in offensive rebounds (15.8) and hold opponents to just 36.5 rebounds per game (second in the NBA).

Memphis Grizzlies is ready to play their third game of a five-game West Coast road trip. They finish the trip with two games in Los Angeles against the Lakers and Clippers. Golden State is a team that Memphis can (some would say should) beat.

The game is billed as a must-win for Golden State. But, is it also a must-win game for Memphis?

Here is what we have learned about Memphis:

1.They can score.

2.They can rebound.

3.They are not going to play defense.

4. The key members of this team's offense are: O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.

The Grizzlies put up their third straight 100-point performance, but lost in Sacramento in overtime (127-116) Monday night.

Memphis led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter, but could not hold the lead. The Kings finished the quarter with a 9-2 run and trailed 33-26 at the end of the first quarter.

The game was close for the rest of the way. Late in the fourth quarter, Sacramento led 108-105 when Rudy Gay tied the game with a three-pointer with 36 seconds remaining.

Memphis took the lead with a 17-footer with six seconds left. Beno Udrih forced overtime with a layup just before the buzzer.

The Kings took control in overtime as they went on a 14-2 run in the extra period to put away the game.

Allen Iverson saw his first action as he scored 11 points in 18 minutes. Five other Grizzlies reached double figures as Randolph had 30 points, Mayo had 22, Rudy Gay added 21, Gasol totaled 16 and Mike Conley had 13.

Sacramento guard Kevin Martin exploded for 47 points and the Kings had four bench players reach double figures.

Memphis had no problems controlling the paint as they out rebounded the Kings, 57-40. Three Memphis players had 10 or more rebounds (Gasol and Randolph had 16 each and Gay chipped in 13).

Four games into the season, it is becoming clear that Memphis will need to outscore teams to win. You will love the offensive numbers they put up, but they will give up as many points as they score.

And, of course, we have Iverson question. After his comments after Monday's loss, will Lionel Hollins be forced to start Allen Iverson as soon as tonight?

Unless the team defense improves, the "Who plays the point?" question is irrelevant.

Notes: Sacramento rookie Stephen Curry should make his third straight start tonight. He is averaging 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.50 steals in 37.5
minutes. Curry finds himself in the top-five in six of the major rookie categories (points, assists, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, steals and minutes) and ranks in the top-20 in rebounds.

Memphis is eighth in the NBA in scoring at 107.0 points per game. The team has scored over 115 points in each of its last three games, the first time that has happened in franchise history.

Note: You can follow my weekly podcast, Memphis Grizzlies Report , where I talk about the latest news and notes about the team.