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VOL. 131 | NO. 7 | Monday, January 11, 2016

Grizzlies Notebook: Zach Randolph Still Mr. Double-Double, Even Off the Bench

By Don Wade

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Ever since Memphis coach Dave Joerger decided to have power forward Zach Randolph play off the bench, he has been Mr. Team First and Mr. Positive Attitude.

Although he’s been playing off the bench instead of starting, Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph is still putting up numbers. His 25 points and 13 rebounds on Sunday, Jan. 10 at FedExForum, led the team’s comeback in a 101-98 victory over the Boston Celtics.

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

He also is still capable of being Mr. Double-Double.

On Sunday, Jan. 10, as the Grizzlies rallied from a 21-point deficit early in the third quarter, Randolph was scoring a team-high 25 points and grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds in a 101-98 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Only four times this season in the NBA has a bench player scored at least 25 points with 10 rebounds. Randolph has now done it twice.

Although there were tense moments right up to the final horn – hey, it’s a Grizzlies game so what do you expect? – the late drama (more on that later) ultimately gave way to joking.

As Randolph was about to exit the locker room, he confided to The Daily News, “I just messed with Marc (Gasol) and said, ‘should I go for the Sixth Man of the Year Award’?”

He would surely get votes from Grizzlies fans. As the Celtics were in the midst of a 19-1 run in the first quarter, fans began chanting: “Z-Bo, Z-Bo!”

“It felt good,” Randolph said with a grin.

Joerger was more than appreciative of Randolph’s efforts, too.

“Zach put us on his shoulders again," he said.

Gasol struggles … but then turns clutch

Although Gasol also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds he was 5 for 17 on the night and over his last four games he has scored 7, 8, 12 and 11: that’s an average of 9.5 points per game for a guy that was All-NBA First Team last season when he averaged a career-best 17.4 points per game.

Veteran Vince Carter, who chipped in eight points and three blocks on Sunday, said he thought Gasol was pressing until late in the game. Gasol scored seven points and went 3 of 5 from the floor in the fourth quarter. His driving hook shot with 3:49 left gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the second half, at 86-85, and he was fouled and hit a free throw to make it 87-85.

Right before that, he had a jump shot and a cutting layup. He scored seven straight points as the Grizzlies went from down three points to up two points.

“I remember walking by and going, ‘hey, close it out for us’,” Carter said. “And he’s like, ‘I got it.’ That’s what you want to hear, that’s what you want to hear. That lets you know he knows everybody else is really putting the effort in to win, so me being the All-Star leader, it’s my turn.”

Jeff Green situation

It was a lousy night for forward Jeff Green. Four points on 2 of 11 shooting.

But his bad pass with 3.9 seconds left gave Boston a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (35 points, 8 assists) stole Green’s in-bounds pass. Guard Avery Bradley put up a trey that missed and then Thomas shot one … that went in. After the final horn.

Whew …

Green, in his last five games, has scored 6, 6, 10, 16 and 4 points. That’s 8.4 points per game.

He still got his time – 31:20 minutes Sunday – but Randolph played 38 minutes and was 8 of 17 from the floor and chipped in a couple of assists and two blocks.

That old coach’s cliche about it doesn’t matter who starts? This proves it, right?

No Conley, no Lee

Starting point guard Mike Conley missed his third straight game with a sore left Achilles and starting shooting guard Courtney Lee missed a second straight game with a sore left hip.

Although Memphis entered the game second in the league in turnover differential (-142), they had 21 turnovers on Sunday that led to 25 Boston points and the Grizzlies handed out just 12 assists.

Recount

4-0: Grizzlies’ record against Atlantic Division teams this season.

15 and 10: Points and rebounds for Tony Allen Sunday; he was just one rebound shy of a double-double in Friday’s win over Denver.

21-18: Grizzlies’ record heading into their Tuesday night, Jan. 12, home game vs. Houston.

23: Number of games with at least 20 points this season for Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas.

58: Rebounds for Grizzlies on Sunday, a season high.

87.5 percent: What the Grizzlies went from the free-throw line (35 of 40), led by guard Mario Chalmers going 11-for-13 on his way to 18 points.

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