Posted May 04, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies are ready to rumble again. Two years after slugging it out in a Western Conference semifinal series that went the full seven games, the two rough-and-tumble rivals will square off again starting in Game 1 in Oklahoma City on Sunday. The Thunder prevailed against Memphis in the last playoff series, which featured a triple-overtime game and another with just one overtime. There's been no love lost since then between the teams, who combined for nine technical fouls in three meetings this season. Grizzlies star Zach Randolph and Oklahoma City enforcer Kendrick Perkins were ejected in one of the games, with a confrontation that continued off the court and into the hallway outside both teams' locker rooms. With even more on the line, the tension should only increase. ''That's their DNA. That's what they do, and that's what we do. Guys are going to go out there pushing and shoving, and it's going to be a really physical series,'' Thunder star Kevin Durant said. ''That's what both teams do. That's what we hang our hats on.'' And neither team is the type to back down. Just look at the Randolph-Perkins showdown, back in a November game lacking the high stakes of the playoffs. The Grizzlies had seemingly salted the game away with back-to-back buckets inside by Randolph and Marc Gasol to go up by 12 when, between a pair of Russell Westbrook free-throw attempts with 2:05 left, Perkins and Randolph started chirping at each other. They both were ejected, kept screaming at each other and then took off toward opposite tunnels so they could continue the fracas elsewhere. Randolph confronted Perkins outside the Thunder locker room, later getting fined $25,000 by the NBA, and explained in his postgame interview: ''There's a lot of bluffing going on on the court, that's all. And I don't bluff.'' Memphis, known as the Bluff City for its river banks and not false claims, turned Randolph's comments into a team slogan - ''We Don't Bluff'' - to put on billboards and rally towels. But Randolph, who also got ejected from his last game after going toe-to-toe with the Clippers' Blake Griffin repeatedly in that series, said this next round can't be all about bluster. ''I got to keep my cool because that plays into their hands. So I'm going to go out just like they were trying to get me off my square during the (Clippers) series,'' said Randolph, who averaged 24.8 points in Memphis' four straight wins. ''I just kept my head and just play.'' The Thunder wouldn't make Perkins available to reporters after their practice Saturday. ''We've got to be the team that hits first in this series,'' Durant said. ''It's going to be a tough and fun series.'' The Grizzlies won two of the three regular-season meetings, with their only loss coming in Oklahoma City just after top scorer Rudy Gay had been traded away - and before Tayshaun Prince and other newly acquired players had arrived. The only meeting since then was won by Memphis on its home floor by a single point in overtime. Of course, much has changed even since then. Westbrook, Oklahoma City's All-Star point guard, is out for the rest of the playoffs after knee surgery. The Thunder went 2-2 without him, winning at Houston on Friday night to close out that series in six games. ''They're not just a one-man team,'' Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. ''They're a good team, and we have to go play and earn whatever we get in this series. I feel good about our team simply because where we're at mentally and physically. We're in good health and we've been playing pretty decent. That's why I feel pretty good about my team. ''I'm not worried about who they have or don't have. We have to go out ... and play according to our abilities.'' Memphis became the first team ever to lose the first two games of a playoff series, then win each of the next four by double figures. ''We've got to refocus our attention to another really good team,'' point guard Mike Conley said. ''We have got great incentive to play. This team has handled us and knocked us out two years ago. We have great games against them. It's another one of those teams - in order to achieve the goals we want to get, we have to go through them.'' --- AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Memphis, Tenn., contributed to this report.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph ejected from Game 6 win over Clippers

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph was ejected from his team's Game 6 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph wrestled each other

Holy Cow! His headband fell off. **Follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Subscribe, or Return to BobsBlitz.com.Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe or Return to Bob's Blitz. Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
SLAM DOWN

Randolph, Griffin get into wrestling match

It’s not often that we get to talk about wrestling and the NBA playoffs at the same time but thanks to Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin, we do. At about the 7:15 mark of the third quarter of Clippers/Grizzlies game six, Michael Conley hit a three-pointer that gave Memphis a fifteen point lead. While the shot was going in, Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph were battling for position...

Series Primer: Focus on Perkins vs. Randolph in West semis

Lionel Hollins doesn't want to hear it. The Thunder are without Russell Westbrook, who is out after undergoing knee surgery, as they face Hollins' Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals, but he can't dwell on who is in or who is out of Oklahoma City's lineup. ''I'm not worried about who they have or don't have," Hollins said. "...

Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph Wrestle on Ground During Clippers Season-Ending Loss (Video)

As the Clippers’ season was fading away, some light tempers flared between Blake Griffin and the Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph midway through the third quarter. The two were fighting for position just outside the paint when they tumbled over. Once on the ground, Griffin started pushing his elbow into Randolph’s head, while Z-Bo administered a brief choke hold on the Clipplers...

MMA meets NBA in Clippers-Grizzlies Game 6

MMA met the NBA Friday night during the Clippers' crucial Game 6 in Memphis. With the Grizzlies up 74-59 after going on a 13-2 run in the third quarter, frustration hit a high when Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph locked arms and wrestled each other to the ground. Randolph went on to press his arm against Griffin's neck, prompting Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro and Grizzlies...

Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin get Into Scuffle During Game (Video)

  The Memphis Grizzlies won four straight games after going down o-2 to the Los Angeles Clippers, and advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs and will now face the Oklahoma City Thunder. During Game 6 last night, the Grizzlies coasted to victory and naturally some tempers flaired and things started to get physical. Not only did Chris Paul get ejected, but big men Zach Randolph...

Kendrick Perkins drops down and hits push ups during Rockets vs. Thunder

This is the NBA playoffs. There’s no place for sensitive smurf in the building. During Friday night’s Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder match up, early in the first quarter the energy was already on high. Kendrick Perkins, Francisco Garcia and Omer Asik had a little shoving match. After the refs and their respective teammates got int between to make sure that cool heads...

Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph Wrestle Each Other To the Ground

We knew it was going to come to this, didn’t we? The Clippers Grizzlies series was getting extremely chippy, and the Clipper seem to be getting frustrated as they have given up so much ground and faced elimination on Friday night’s game 6. Those tempers came to head when Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin wrestled each other to the ground and had to be broken up.   Article found...

Thunder Confident Perkins Fit For Series Against Grizzlies

Kendrick Perkins was benched in the second half of the Oklahoma City Thunder's closeout win over the Houston Rockets on Friday, but Scott Brooks is confident that his big man will bounce back in the second round against the Memphis Grizzlies. “This series was hard for him,” Brooks said of Perkins against the run-and-gun Rockets. “But his commitment to still cheer his...

Grizzlies 118, Clippers 105

Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 23 points each, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105 on Friday night to take the first-round series 4-2 and advance to their second Western Conference semifinals in three seasons. The Grizzlies had never won four straight postseason games before this series, and they became only the 10th team in NBA history to win four...

Joey Crawford ejects Chris Paul, Zach Randolph at end of game

Joey Crawford wasn’t content letting the final minutes of Game 6 between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers play out. Oh no. The veteran NBA referee decided he had to make himself a central story. Crawford decided to eject Chris Paul with 2:29 left in the game. Tayshaun Prince was at the line and made his second of two free throws to put the Grizzlies up 113-99. After...

Memphis Grizzlies Win Wrestling Match of a Game Over Los Angeles Clippers to Take Series

It is kind of telling about a game when shortly after it is over the only play that is available on YouTube (ESPN or NBA) is of two of the game's stars--Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph--wrestling. That's right sports fans--wrestling. Referee Joey Crawford had his hands full trying to keep this one from evolving into a WWE-style Battle Royal. Along with this little...

Thunder, Grizzlies set to square off again

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies are ready to rumble again. Two years after slugging it out in a Western Conference semifinal series that went the full seven games, the two rough-and-tumble rivals will square off again starting in Game 1 in Oklahoma City on Sunday. The Thunder prevailed against Memphis in the last playoff series, which featured a triple-overtime...

Grizzlies vs. Thunder: NBA Playoff Breakdown

Top 5 Players 1. Kevin Durant (Thunder) 2. Zach Randolph (Grizzlies) 3. Marc Gasol (Grizzlies) 4. Segre Ibaka (Thunder) 5. Mike Conley (Grizzlies) 3 X-factors 1. Reggie Jackson(Thunder) 2. Tony Allen (Grizzlies) 3. Kevin Martin (Thunder) Best scorer : Kevin Durant (Thunder) Best passer: Mike Conley (Grizzlies) Best shooter: Kevin Martin (Thunder) Best low-post scorer: Zach Randolph...
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.