Zach Randolph doesn’t hold back when it comes to Blake Griffin. The two have a history of very physical play in the playoffs, and more often than not, the intensity spills out of bounds.
When the Clippers and Grizzlies were in the midst of their six-game first-round series this year, Randolph called out Griffin for complaining about his ankle injury, saying, “Banged up? I’m banged up. You forgot about my ankle? Banged up. My ankle is as big as a balloon. Talk to the trainers. I’m getting treatment every day. It’s the playoffs.”
Z-Bo didn’t stop there.
After splitting the first two games against the top-seeded Thunder, Randolph and Marc Gasol are averaging a combined 38.5 points, 16.5 boards and 6.0 assists per game, mostly against OKC’s interior starting tandem of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Z-Bo admitted to NBA.com that, unlike in the first round when he felt the need to physically punk the high-flying Clippers, he doesn’t want to get into any more altercations.
In adding to that, while talking about OKC, he took yet another shot at one of the NBA’s most popular players: “They are tough. They’re tougher than the Clippers — Ibaka and Perkins — they’re tougher than Blake. So yeah, they’re tough and they’re strong.”
Randolph’s ability to dominate the paint and physically punish the Thunder is probably the key to this series. Why? Game 2 was the first time this postseason that Memphis had won a game where their power forward didn’t score at least 23 points. In four-straight wins over the Clippers in the first round, Randolph scored 27, 24, 25 and 23 points to end the series.
Randolph seems to relish pricking Blake Griffin whenever he can, and unlike last year when L.A. beat Memphis in the playoffs, the 31-year-old grinder now has the freedom to do so.
We’re out like waiting on Blake to retaliate.
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