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The Grizzlies looked darned-near invincible just five games ago when they were at the peak of an eight-game win streak.

Since then, they've battled hard to go 2-3 heading into tonight's 6 p.m. CST game at Washington. And the reason is as clear as the ball bouncing over their heads - rebounding.The Grizzlies rank 17th in the league in rebounding, averaging 42.1, and they were 19th last season at 41.6. In the past five games, though, they rank 23rd among 29 teams in rebounding, and 11th in the Western Conference.

"We said before the year - rebounding, rebounding, rebounding - is essential to win in the Western Conference," Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said.

Six of the top eight rebounders in the league are in the Western Conference. Seven of the NBA's best 10 offensive rebounders are in the Western Conference.

That's a problem and a challenge for the Grizzlies, who have a tenacious player or two in the front line, but no one with the overwhelming physical skills to win most battles with some of the West's best centers and power forwards. Every game becomes a knockdown rebounding fight, and if the Grizzlies don't get help on the boards from every player on the floor, including guards, precious fast break opportrunties are erased.
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Is the real problem rebounds? If so, how to fix it?
 
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