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NBA: Zach Randolph, Grizzlies on the rebound again

Published May 20, 2013 6:14 pm

NBA playoffs • Memphis forward inspired by boxer Muhammad Ali's ability to bounce back.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

San Antonio • Zach Randolph's miserable Western Conference finals debut led to a sleepless night and a long film session.

The All-Star power forward and his Memphis Grizzlies are hardly down and out, though. In both rounds of the playoffs so far, Memphis has lost Game 1 before rallying back to knock out the Los Angeles Clippers and then the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This time, Randolph had his worst game ever in the playoffs, managing two points in a 105-83 blowout. His only lower-scoring game in 40 playoff appearances was when he played 1 minute as a rookie for Portland in a 2002 game.

"It's more frustrating than embarrassing," said Randolph, who missed his first seven shots in Game 1. "It's basketball. It happens to the best of them.

"Muhammad Ali, he got knocked down before. What made him the greatest fighter in the world is he always bounced back."

It took the Grizzlies two games to get off the mat in the first round, when they suffered a 21-point blowout at Los Angeles and then lost on a Chris Paul buzzer-beater in Game 2. Memphis then won the next four.

There weren't as many adjustments needed in Round 2, when Kevin Durant's spectacular finish lifted Oklahoma City to a two-point win in the opener. Again, the Grizzlies won four straight to advance.

So, the panic button is nowhere in sight for these comeback kids with Game 2 on Tuesday night in San Antonio.

"That's what you do in life. Every time you have a bad moment, you've got to bounce back and get up and go again," coach Lionel Hollins said. "You have a bad day, you've got to get up the next morning and make it a good day. Every team has lost games that have been really bad, they've lost one-point buzzer-beaters, all of those types of things.

"If you're going to be in life and live, you've got to get up and go do it again and try to be better."

After last year's West finals, the Spurs are wary of feeling good about any series lead. San Antonio won the first two games at home last year, and then lost four in a row to the Thunder.

"Everything can change real fast," point guard Tony Parker said.

The Spurs had a surprisingly easy time against the NBA's best defense in Game 1, shooting 53 percent and making a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers on just 29 attempts. —

Western Conference finals

San Antonio 1, Memphis 0

Sunday • San Antonio 105, Memphis 83

Tuesday • Memphis at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Saturday • San Antonio at Memphis, 7 p.m.

Monday, May 27 • San Antonio at Memphis,7 p.m.

x-Wednesday, May 29 • Memphis at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

x-Friday, May 31 • San Antonio at Memphis,7 p.m.

x-Sunday, June 2 • Memphis at San Antonio,7 p.m.

x-if necessary

Games 2-7 on ESPN