Posted March 13, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Memphis Grizzlies got by without Zach Randolph during the first four games of their latest surge, but they were certainly happy to see him back in the lineup as it continued. His presence, though, hasn't been enough to get them past the Los Angeles Clippers in either of this season's meetings. Memphis seeks its 14th victory in 15 tries Wednesday night as it visits Los Angeles, which is coming off its best offensive performance of the season. Randolph sprained his ankle in a loss at Miami on March 1 and missed the next four games - all Memphis victories. He returned Tuesday and scored 19 points while adding 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of a 102-97 win at Portland. He hit 8 of 13 from the field and has a double-double in six of his last seven games for the Grizzlies (43-19), who have won six of seven road games during their current hot stretch. "I felt pretty good out there,'' Randolph said. "A little sore, but overall I felt all right.'' Mike Conley had a career-high 15 assists and Marc Gasol, who lauded Randolph's effort, scored 20 points. Gasol is shooting 61.8 percent over his last six games. "He's back,'' Gasol said of Randolph. "There's no way around it - we need Zach. There's no way around that.'' A night after Randolph thrived against one of his former teams, he'll get a chance at another. But Randolph, who averaged 20.9 points in 39 games for the Clippers in 2008-09, has struggled with his shooting against Los Angeles this season. He scored 15 points and had 16 rebounds in a 101-92 loss Oct. 31, but he hit only 5 of 15 from the field and 5 of 9 from the free throw line. He shot 5 of 16 and had identical free throw numbers while finishing with 15 points and 12 boards Jan. 14 as the Clippers rolled to a 99-73 win at FedEx Forum without Chris Paul. The Grizzlies, though, are percentage points ahead of the Clippers (45-20) for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoff race and are allowing an NBA-best 89.5 points per game. Their defense likely will face a tough challenge against a Los Angeles team that set a season high for points in a 129-97 win over Detroit on Sunday. Paul scored 20 points while adding 14 assists and said the Clippers, who defeated Memphis in seven games in last season's first-round playoff series, are focused on making a move in the tightly packed West. Only six games separate first-place San Antonio from fifth-place Denver. "Now is the time, probably in the last 10 games or so, when you really start jockeying for position," Paul told the team's official website. "Right now, I think we're just talking about building, making sure we're playing the right way at the right time." Los Angeles, which has split its last four games, shot a season-best 62.5 percent from the field Sunday as Blake Griffin hit 9 of 12 from the field and scored a game-high 22 points. The Clippers, though, hope to get better defensively after allowing 103.3 points per game over their last four - well above their average of 94.4. "It's something we've talked about the past couple of days in practice is turning up the intensity and getting back to playing aggressively, especially defensively," Griffin said. Los Angeles has won 12 of the last 15 meetings at Staples Center, including last season's playoffs.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Randolph leads Grizzles past Blazers in return

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Zach Randolph returned from an ankle injury with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies won their fifth straight game with a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. Marc Gasol had 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Mike Conley added 14...

Grizzlies 102, Trail Blazers 97

Zach Randolph returned from an ankle injury with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies won their fifth straight game with a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. Marc Gasol had 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Mike Conley added 14 points and a career-high...

Grizzlies’ Mike Conley Retains Peace of Mind at Home Even With Grind of NBA Season (Video)

As one of the top players on a Memphis Grizzlies squad that allows an NBA-best 89.4 points per game, Mike Conley knows a thing or two about defense. But along with protecting the basket, the young guard also takes steps to protect his home. Conley took viewers on a tour of the Memphis-area home he shares with his new fiancee as part of the ADT Home Turf series, showing how he can...

Grizzlies-Trail Blazers Preview

The Memphis Grizzlies have proven nearly unbeatable over the last month thanks to a continued emphasis on defense. They put on a stingy performance against the Portland Trail Blazers less than a week ago. Seeking a 13th victory in 14 games, Memphis hopes to have leading scorer Zach Randolph available as it opens a four-game road trip Tuesday night against Portland. Holding opponents...

Clippers set to face physical battle vs. Grizzlies

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. Theres nothing subtle about the Memphis Grizzlies. They are big, physical and unafraid to use their muscle under the basket a fact the Clippers know too well. With those guys, you know what kind of game its going to be, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan said. Its going to be a grind -- not a dirty grind, but its going to be physical down there. Well be ready for...

Memphis Grizzlies Thriving With Security Provided by Mike Conley’s Steady Point Guard Play

Mike Conley is a Midwest basketball legend. An Indianapolis high school star, Conley teamed up with fellow Naptown native Greg Oden to lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to the National Championship Game as a freshman. That would be his only season in college, as Conley joined Oden in immediately entering the NBA Draft. Conley struggled to fulfill expectations during his first several...

While We’re Waiting… the best NBA free agent left on the market… Delonte West

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. Great long-read on former Cavalier Delonte West-  “So now, with less than six weeks left in the NBA season, he waits. The self-medication of basketball, the release he...

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction and preview

Revenge in the air? The Portland Trail Blazers have officially become the most difficult team in the NBA to predict. After defeating the San Antonio Spurs by 30 points, they fell by two to the worst team in the Western Conference—the New Orleans Hornets. Matchup: Portland (29-33) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (42-19) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Tuesday, March 12,...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.