I was just checking out some NBA box scores from Sunday’s slate of NBA games and read about the wild scoring fest between the Nuggets and Grizzlies. The Nuggets, one of the best teams in the NBA, prevailed, 133-123, behind Carmelo Anthony‘s 42 points. Quick tangent: Anthony is my very early choice for MVP. In three wins to start the season against Utah, Portland and Memphis, Melo has scored 30, 41 and 42 points. Impressive.
Back to Sunday’s game: Despite the loss, Memphis, which visits Oracle Arena on Wednesday in the Warriors’ next game, played well for the second game in a row (they beat a good Raptors team, 115-107, on Friday), and were led by super sophomore guard O.J. Mayo, who scored a career high 40 points. Mayo did it on 17-of-25 shooting, including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point land. He chipped in 5 rebounds and 4 assists, too.
Mayo is a great young player and it got me thinking that this Grizzlies team could give the Warriors a good run Wednesday. The Grizz won’t play any defense; they’re allowing 112 points per game, and letting opponents shoot 50.2 percent from the field. But they certainly have a lot of talented offensive players and can put the ball in the basket. If the Warriors don’t prepare properly, if they overlook this team in any way, they could find themselves in a struggle to get their first win.
Mayo isn’t the only tough guard on the Grizzlies. Power forward Zach Randolph is a beast down low, small forward Rudy Gay is ultra-athletic with a nice jumper and center Marc Gasol (Pau’s younger brother) is one of the more underrated players in the NBA right now (did you know he’s averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds through three games?). They present some really tough matchups for the Warriors. For example, who guards Mayo?
Is anybody besides the Grizzlies and their fans comfortable with that scenario?
I’m just saying that with an 0-2 start, the Warriors can’t afford to look at this as anything resembling a gimme game. It’s not. The Grizzlies are probably going to struggle to win 25 games this season, true. But especially this early in the season, when every team still believes they’ve got a shot, anything can happen. This could be a trap game for Golden State.
They better be ready.