Rolling Zach Randolph Looks To Give Heat Headaches Again

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — The scary thing for the Heat is that when the Memphis Grizzlies crushed them in Miami last April, 97-82, Zach Randolph wasn’t himself yet still ripped off 14 points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench.

On Sunday when the Heat (5-1) visit the Grizz (4-1) in a battle of streaking teams, they’ll get a fully healthy, fully engaged Randolph right from the opening tip. No Grizzlies player is accumulating more minutes (38.2 a game) and none are delivering such forceful, all-around performances (15.8 points and 15.0 rebounds) on a nightly basis.

The knee injury that sidelined Randolph barely a week into the lockout-shortened season, limited him to just 28 games and robbed him of his power when he did come back, is a thing of the past. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound behemoth in a headband notched his fifth consecutive double-double Friday night in Memphis’ fourth consecutive victory, 93-85, over the Houston Rockets.

Randolph went for 15 points, 14 boards and three blocks in a team-high 41 minutes. With a plus-18 rating, he was the only Memphis starter in plus territory. His consecutive offensive rebounds and putbacks around the four-minute mark of the second quarter allowed the Grizzlies to wash away a sluggish start and avoid falling behind by double digits.

“Z-Bo has been an inspiration this year when you start talking about a transformation from a young player to a veteran player. He just wants to win,” gloated Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. “He knows that we have a bunch of guys who can go get it, but we need what he brings to the table. This is probably the best he has played all around. He’s not needing the ball every time down-court and in the post. He’s going to get offensive rebounds for us and he’s playing very hard on defense, he’s up in the pick-and-rolls. He’s just doing things it takes to win.

“It’s a great transformation and a testament to him wanting to and then going out and doing it.”

The conundrum for the Heat, as is for most opponents, is how to handle Randolph, the league’s top overall and offensive rebounder, when there’s also burly, 7-foot center Marc Gasol to contain. That’s 525 pounds to deal with and it’s no secret that Miami isn’t a traditionally big team along the front line.

The 6-foot-11 Chris Bosh mans the middle, surrenders about 35 pounds to each Grizzlies big man and will never be mistaken for a physically powerful player. So if Bosh has his hands full guarding Gasol (16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg), then LeBron James will likely take on the rare assignment of a player that can match him physically, pound-for-pound.

So far, Randolph has been up for every challenge.

29 Comments

  1. dattebayo says:

    Great game tonight, the Grizzlies beat the Heat Miami style shooting over 50% from 3 point range. Who would have thought that Ray Allen goes 1-5 and Wayne Ellington goes 7-11 from deep. Gay and Speights contributed making contested fadeaways in the 2nd half and Miami just couldn’t respond. One last run in the 4th pushed the lead up to 20 and made Spoelstra empty his bench. Wade had a poor game once again throwing up bricks and complaining about non calls instead of getting back on D chasing Ellington off the 3 point line. Randolph had a nice game, but he missed at least 6-7 layups. I think the Heat shoot themselves in the foot starting Battier against big teams like Memphis, Utah or Indiana, but some lessons need to be learned the hard way. Maybe this loss helps in that aspect.

  2. W/E says:

    no worries for the Heat,Memphis will lose in the playoffs for sure so they wont meet them in the nba finals

  3. manny says:

    since the last grizzle game with miami the heat has proven that their team deffence and the big three can beat any team with alite inside presence
    vs knicks (chandler and stodomire)
    vs Indiana (west and hilbert)
    vs Boston (kevin Garnet)
    vs Okc ( iBaka and Perkins)

    • Wells says:

      Manny, I’m waiting for you to name a teamwith an elite front court. None of those you named qualify.

  4. Chester says:

    bench scoring for the grizzlies is a problem though. beyond tony allen what do u have at sg? backup sf?

    • McLean says:

      The grizzlies bench is very underrated. They bring tons of energy and play great defense. Jerryd Bayless, Wayne Ellington, Quincy Pondexter, Marreese Speights, and Zach Randolph/Marc Gasol (due to Darrell Arthurs absence) is the lineup Coach Hollins likes. They play defense, are gritty, and simply outwork other teams. Quincy Pondexter is a guy to watch.

  5. zebo says:

    doesnt matter. they will not meet in the playoffs…

  6. theking0522 says:

    I am Miami fans, but this Grizzlies team is going to be a threat for anybody in the West. Everybody is talking about SA, Thunders and Lakers. The Grizzlies can beat and match with any of those team. And they are younger than Lakers and Spurs.

    • manny says:

      true but the grizzle have been good for some time but they keeo fishing the seasor at low playoff spots. the clips are beeter than last year and will end the grizzle playoff run on another first round of good but inconsistent teams

  7. Germany says:

    It’s going to be a great game. Grizzlies inside game against Miami’s outside game. If, Miami hits their 3s Grizzlies don’t have a chance. Grizzles will probably win the boards, with Z and Gasol. Or, I will say the boards are in the Grizzles favour because Miami can rebound when the put their minds to it. Ray Allen is even rebounding. I think it will come down to an energy thing. Whoever has the highest energy level will win. Go Heat.

  8. chef chonoy says:

    talnakaman inggo

  9. crownedslim says:

    Z-Bo is just one player of the Grizzlies, period. The larger question is on how could Grizzlies stop Miami’s offensive onslaught? Enough said.

  10. landon says:

    REBOUNDS WIN THE GAME , BECAUSE THEIR CALLED SECOND CHANCE POINTS FOR A REASON!!!!!!! lp YALL DOWN SOUTH YEAHHH

  11. landon says:

    real talk

  12. landon says:

    dont forget grizz, play inside out , coach hollins ,you got two huge big men down low, all you have to do is tell rudy gay to crash the boards and help out every now and then the grizz will be straight.

  13. landon says:

    go grizzilies

  14. GrizzBearMEM says:

    The Heat may be the champs, but the grizzles have beat them 6 out of the last 9 times. That means that the Heat have to adjust to the Grizzlies and figure out how to beat them. If they do put Lebron to guard Z-Bo, then they’ll leave Rudy with a weaker defender. He’s been aggressive this year, and he’ll look to score early. Great game that I can’t wait to see.

  15. Miamib2b says:

    Obviously this writer had no idea what he was writing..

  16. z3rOoOo says:

    u can give zBo all the point wants inside the paint and counter it with a 3′s on heats end evrytime..a three is still better than a two..

  17. ak26 says:

    Z-Bo is a beast they’re not gonna put LeBron on him until late if necessary. But if Z-Bo is going guard LeBron, he’s going to be having a long night.

    Heat should win this game even with Memphis being motivated.

  18. princess says:

    i agree with you cruzero, lebron is lebron he can guard every position from time to time. if lebron plays 4 and as their usual line up its the memphis would most likely to adjust to match them.

  19. rennat13 says:

    z-bo doin zach-tivity down low. he gets the most out of his size and positioning down low. no one does it better at 6’9″

  20. cruzero says:

    last seasons’s champion was miami, i do not care if they beat the heat was crushed by the grizzlies in the season series. LBJ will be playing at the 4 spot, what can that randolph do? i do not see in a mile that the grizz will beat the heat. its the other way around, the grizzlies should be mindful that miami is looking for payback

  21. Celticsrck says:

    pretty sure Bosh is 6’10″

  22. Katrell May says:

    It’s funny how alot of people and critics in the NBA, have amnesia. You guys seem to forget that Zack Randolph is a 20-10 player. He never got to recognition he deserved as being one of the top power forwards. I am a huge Kevin Love fan and even a bigger Amare Stoudemire fan but there’s no bias here. Zach is the ONLY power forward who has the best all around game and the most consistent game/skills. Love is a beast but you can’t argue that Z=Bo isn’t. Kevin Love gets a lot of his points of of put backs and three pointers, while Randolph has the most post moves out of any power forward, and can shoot the J and people also forget that he is very capable of shooting the three ball. He just doesn’t take those shots anymore because of the system he is in now. Don’t believe me? Look at the highlights of him when he was in Portland and other teams. He is much like Kevin Love with his tenacity and touch around the basket with limited athleticism. I think it’s about time that Randolph is getting the credit he deserves.

  23. JUICE says:

    Z-BO will bring it for sure! But watch out for gay to shine in this one, i can smell it lol

  24. Patty says:

    The organization should trade Gay. Randolph is one of the Greatest player that ever played the game.

  25. Patty says:

    Randolph is the best player on the Memphis team. The organization wants Rudy Gay to be the face of the Memphis Grizzles, but he not Zach Randolph.