Are Zach Randolph & The Memphis Grizzlies The Most Feared Team In The Playoffs?
Remember those Memphis Grizzlies that collapsed late in the season and were supposed to be stomped out of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs? Yeah, they’re still here in the NBA Playoffs. Better yet, they are here and kicking ass.
When the Grizzlies put away the Spurs on Friday night, some chalked it up to the Spurs being too old and the younger Grizzlies taking full advantage of it. Never mind that the Spurs were the #1 seed while the Griz were #8. If you wanted to find a reason why Zach Randolph and company torched the Spurs to give them the boot, the young vs. old argument worked out pretty well. But then Memphis waltzed into Oklahoma City for game #1 against the young and dangerous Thunder and pulverized them for four quarters to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.
If you didn’t take them seriously before, you definitely have to now.
Randolph proved his first round numbers weren’t an aberration as he wrecked the revamped front line of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, which was supposed to stifle any group of big men in the league. They raced out to a double digit lead and never looked back. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol played exceptionally well and a 114-101 final score proved that these Grizzlies are for real.
With nothing to lose, the Grizzlies are all in and ready to make a few teams upset along the way. It’s hard to gauge when the fairy tale ride will end, but considering that the Grizz closed the season going 27-11 in their final 38 games (including wins over the likes of Dallas, Oklahoma City twice, Boston and San Antonio in the final two months) it is safe to say that they are for real. Although nobody expected it, once digging a little deeper into how the Grizzlies played down the stretch, you can see that they are a force to be reckoned with. Whether or not they will oust the Thunder has yet to be seen. But it has already been a magical run and it appears to be far from over.
Now just imagine if they had Rudy Gay…