Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/10/13
Memphis-grizzlies-chicago
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Memphis Grizzlies are 2-0 at Oracle Arena this season, but as far as Zach Randolph is concerned, Wednesday's 94-87 victory over the Golden State Warriors was the first time to celebrate. Randolph dominated his matchup with fellow Western Conference All-Star candidate David Lee, contributing a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double -- his 23rd of the young season -- to the Grizzlies' eighth consecutive victory over the Warriors. The postgame scene around Randolph's locker after this win was in stark contrast to when Randolph was left to wonder about longtime friend Brandon Rush following a 104-94 Memphis win in the Warriors' home opener Nov. 2. On that night, Rush suffered a season-ending knee injury as a result of a Randolph foul. "I feel a lot better," Randolph said of Wednesday's win, before which he tracked down Warriors coach Mark Jackson to check on Rush's condition. "It sounds like he's doing better, so I feel good about that. "That (Nov. 2) was a bittersweet win. There was nothing bittersweet about tonight." Randolph had eight fourth-quarter points and one of seven Grizzlies offensive rebounds in the final 12 minutes as Memphis finally exercised its physical dominance over a team missing its star center, Andrew Bogut. "We just started hitting the boards," Randolph noted of the team's 14-6 rebounding dominance in the final period after the Warriors had held the upper hand in that department for three quarters. "Crashing. Being physical down low. That's the way we play." After the Memphis defense had paved the way to a 14-point lead in the second period and an 11-point advantage midway through the third, the Grizzlies found themselves in an 82-all tie following a pair of Klay Thompson free throws with 3:32 remaining in the game. But that's when they remembered who they were and went inside to Marc Gasol for an interior hoop over Warriors rookie Festus Ezeli and a lead the Grizzlies never relinquished. "That's our job -- be dominant in the paint every game," assessed Rudy Gay, whose 18 points were one shy of Randolph's team-high total. Mike Conley capped a critical 6-0 run with two free throws and a fast-break hoop, and Randolph countered a Stephen Curry 3-pointer with four points of his own as the Grizzlies won in the West for the third time in four nights by capturing a fourth straight victory on Golden State's home court. "You have teams you can't beat," Gay tried to explain. "I guess we are theirs." Conley finished with 16 points, Gasol 12 and Tony Allen 10 as all five Memphis starters scored in double figures. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins credited his defense. "It was a big win," he assured. "To hold this team to 87 points at home is a monumental task with the way that they can shoot and score." It surely wasn't the Warriors' best shooting night. They went almost 21 minutes without making a 3-pointer and then three consecutive possessions without a score after Thompson's free throws produced the late tie. The defeat came on the heels of Saturday's blowout loss in Los Angeles against the Clippers and was just Golden State's second setback following a loss this season. "We expect to win every game we play," boasted Lee, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. "We have to bounce back here against Portland in a few days (Friday) and regroup." Stephen Curry had 24 points and Thompson 20 for the Warriors, who entered the game just a half-game behind Memphis in the Western standings. The difference, the Warriors' Jackson assured, was on the boards, even though the final 43-38 Grizzlies advantage doesn't necessarily scream it out. "They were more physical than us, they imposed their will on us, we were out of sync and we had a tough time," Jackson observed. "That's a basketball team. You play them, you are going to get better. They execute you to death." NOTES: While the Warriors haven't announced it, the Grizzlies' Randolph reported he was told Rush will have surgery on the torn ACL and MCL in his left knee next week. ... The Grizzlies' 60 points in the paint were a season-high for a Warriors opponent. ... First-year Grizzlies owner Robert Pera sat courtside, just his second appearance at a Memphis game since he purchased the club in October. The 34-year-old Pera grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and still owns a San Jose-based company that manufactures products used in wireless networking. ... The Warriors are one team rumored to have inquired about the availability of the Grizzlies' Gay, who reportedly is being shopped around the league. The Warriors do have a tie to Gay -- he is a longtime friend of Curry and attended the point guard's wedding in Charlotte two summers ago. ... Asked before the game how he dealt with trade rumors filting into his locker room, the Grizzlies' Hollins hardly threw water on the fire, admitting, "I've said many times: You're going to be traded if you play long enough. You live in a community, and while you live in that community, you do what you can to make that community better. Then if you get transferred to another community, you do what you can to make that community better." ... Assessing Gay, Randolph and Gasol before the game, the Warriors' Jackson observed: "They have the best front line in basketball." ... Jackson coached his 100th game for the Warriors on Wednesday. His record now stands at 45-55.
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