The Memphis Grizzlies visit the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on November 03, 2010. The Grizzlies are coming off back to back games after visiting the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday down in Anaheim, California. Despite it being a back to back, the team should be somewhat rested having been trounced 124 to 105 and sitting many of their starters for the majority of the 4th quarter.
The Grizzlies record entering tonight’s road game stands at 1-1 on the road and 2-2 overall. Coached by Lionel Hollins, the Grizzlies rely on leading scorer Rudy Gay who is averaging 24.3 points per game and big man Marc Gasol who is averaging a double double with 10.7 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game. They face a Warriors team that is 2-0 at home and 2-1 overall. The Warriors are still in the process of undergoing an ownership change from Chris Cohan to a group led by venture capitalist, Joe Lacob. The team also is sporting new uniforms, a new court design and has a new head coach in Keith Smart, who replaced all time wins leader Don Nelson a few days before training camp started.
While the Grizzlies have been without all-star big man Zach Randolph who suffered a bruised tailbone in the season opener, he was able to participate in yesterday’s pregame shoot around and may be available tonight. However, that’s not the biggest news coming out of Memphis these days. The topic around the city (and throughout the NBA world) has centered around Point Guard Mike Conley’s new extension that spans five years and will pay him a guaranteed forty five million dollars. This is on the heels of Gay’s lucrative deal this offseason where the small forward received a six year deal worth eighty million dollars.
The Grizzlies aren’t the only team that gave a player big money this offseason. The Warriors also gave their new all-star power forward, David Lee, a six year contract that is also worth eighty million. In fact, out of the 14 players on the team’s roster, there are only three players who were on last seasons opening day active roster. Still, even with all the turnover, the Warriors have been able to gel quickly to get off to their best start in five years and they only suffered their first loss this past Sunday against those very Lakers.
Like Memphis, the Warriors also were blown out by the Lakers 107 to 83 and are without a key player in point guard Stephen Curry. Curry is nursing a sprained ankle that he suffered in the preseason and aggravated last Friday versus the Los Angeles Clippers. Yesterday, he deemed that it was about “75 percent” and that he would likely miss his second straight game. If Curry is unable to go, the Warriors will rely heavily on Lee and dynamic scoring guard Monta Ellis, who is coming off a career year in which he averaged 25.5 points per game, to provide more than they were able to muster in Los Angeles.