If the Memphis Grizzlies are to beat the Los Angeles Clippers (as I predicted they would) their power forward must lead them. I watched the entire game 1….I saw Zach Randolph out there, but not Z-Bo. When he’s right, the man is a beast inside…the heart and soul of the ‘Grizz’. He can’t allow Reggie Evans to outplay him like he did (Reggie finished w/ 7 & 13…Zach had just 6 & 8). Coach Lionel Hollins pulled Zach late after the Clippers had already overcome the 20+ point deficit…and things only got worse for Memphis in the final minute.
This team can bounce back from the loss, I don’t doubt that…but it has to be done with Randolph being the leader and the same inside force inside as the past 2 seasons. It was painful watching the Grizz offense stall late, forcing the ball to Marc Gasol at the high post as he was being suffocated by Blake Griffin (hardly known for his defense).
The final shot by Rudy Gay was weak…he didn’t even try and get separation on the equally long Kenyon Martin. Rudy just dribbled to one spot and carelessly elevated like his name was Kevin Durant. Gay isn’t the leader of this team, Zach is. ‘The Grindhouse’ just isn’t the same without him on the court.
Say what you want about the Clippers (and I do), they know who they are out there with Chris Paul running the show. With Zach Randolph in and out of the rotation, the Grizzlies appear to be having an identity crisis.
When Hollins inserted Dante Cunningham for the last defensive possession, it was strange. When he went with Gasol and four perimeter guys (again, no Randolph) I knew the game was already lost…..
…and if this kind of rotation pattern continues, their season will be lost too.