Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/3/12
By Dave Del Grande OAKLAND -- Zach Randolph assures nobody was going to stop him Friday night. "Not security. Nobody," he declared afterward. The veteran power forward wasn't talking about his 15-point, 14-rebound performance in the Memphis Grizzlies' 104-94 road win over the Golden State Warriors. Rather, he was referring to leaving the court late in the first quarter to check on an old friend who he'd just knocked down -- and potentially seriously injured -- while attempting to prevent a high-flying dunk attempt. "I felt real bad," Randolph said afterward of unintentionally sending Warriors super-sub Brandon Rush sprawling with 4:09 remaining in the first period. "I didn't do that on purpose." Accident or not, Rush suffered the consequences. He could not return to the game and was scheduled for an MRI Saturday. The Warriors, who were decimated by injuries last season, left the arena hopeful, but some pessimism quickly surfaced. "His knee doesn't look too good right now," center Andrew Bogut reported. "It was a nasty-looking injury. Wish him all the best." Other than Rush, nobody felt worse about the incident than Randolph. Without bothering to get his coach's permission, he walked the length of the court and out the arena tunnel, determined to deliver an apology to Rush in the Golden State locker room. "I told him I'm very sorry about what happened," Randolph related. "I told him, 'If there's anything I can do. I am praying for you.' I know what it feels like." Randolph suffered an MCL tear last season. He's hoping he didn't drop the same fate -- or worse -- upon Rush, with whom the Indiana native has enjoyed a friendly relationship dating back to their childhood. "I know him. I know his brother. He's a great guy," Randolph gushed. "He's got a bright future." Randolph went on to team with frontcourt mates Marc Gasol (21 points) and Rudy Gay (18) to dominate the interior play and overpower the Warriors in a game actually won by the visitors at the free-throw line, where they earned a 28-12 advantage. He credited teammate Tony Allen with an assist. "Tony could see I was really busted up," Randolph said of the immediate aftermath of the accident. "He told me I needed to get my head back into the game." Coming off a 101-92 road loss to the Clippers on Halloween, the Grizzlies led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but clung to just a 59-56 advantage after Warriors star Stephen Curry buried a 3-pointer with 6:37 to go in the third quarter. But then Michael Conley outshined his point-guard counterpart, nailing 25- and 26-footers to ignite a 9-0 Grizzlies run that extended the lead to 12 with 3:33 left in the period. The Warriors were never closer than eight the rest of the way. "We have so many weapons, especially down low," noted Conley, who matched Gasol's team-high, 21-point figure. "That frees me up. I get a lot of open looks." Coming off a 2-for-14 opener at Phoenix, Curry hit half his 20 shots and led the Warriors with 26 points. Seven of his 10 successes came consecutively during a stretch bridging the first and second quarters. The Warriors weren't talking about Curry's effort afterward. "Just an unfortunate, unfortunate break," coach Mark Jackson assured of the Rush fall. "Added Klay Thompson: "Of course it affected us. It was not good seeing him go down like that. We need him out there." NOTES: The Warriors have decided not to play Bogut on the second night of back-to-back sequences to start the season, meaning he will sit out Saturday's road game against the Clippers. "We just want to be smart," Jackson explained. Bogut missed the final 52 games of the 2011-12 season with a broken left ankle. ... The Grizzlies have won seven in a row from the Warriors, including a 4-0 series sweep last season. ... Interestingly, the teams will meet just three times this year in a full season after having faced off four times in last year's truncated, 66-game slate. ... Having opened in California against the Clippers and Warriors, Memphis gets its first home game Monday against the Jazz. ... The Warriors clearly sent a message in its pregame player introduction for the home opener. Players entered the courts from two sides of a replica of the Bay Bridge, an attempt to bring all Warriors fans together as the team prepares to build a new arena in San Francisco and move out of Oakland. ... The Warriors paid tribute to the San Francisco Giants' baseball championship with a video on the main scoreboard during the game's first full timeout. The effort drew a mixed response of cheers and boos from the Oakland-based crowd.
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