Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph has been suspended for Saturday’s pivotal Game 7 against Oklahoma City for throwing a punch at Thunder rookie forward Steven Adams during Thursday night’s 104-84 Game 6 loss.
Even with the series tied at 3-3, the Grizzlies clearly enter Game 7 at a deficit. Star guard Mike Conley also suffered a pulled hamstring in Thursday’s loss, and though he has vowed to play no one seems to know for sure how much he actually may be able to give the Grizzlies.
Word of Randolph’s suspension came down from the league office late Friday. The scuffle with Adams unfolded midway through the fourth quarter after the 6-foot-9, 260 pound Randolph first elbowed Adams in the stomach, then connected with a right cross to the jaw.
Throughout the series, Randolph has led the Grizzlies in scoring, averaging 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds. In Game 6, Adams had gotten under Randolph’s skin for much of the night, blocking at least two of his shots and being part of a suffocating defense that forced him into shooting just 6-of-14.
Conley, meanwhile, was injured in the third quarter when he pulled his right hamstring near center court after diving for a loose ball. The All-Star guard later tried to return in the fourth quarter, but quickly removed himself from the lineup after it became apparent his mobility was limited.
For the series, Conley has averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals. On the season, the six-year veteran averaged 17.s points, six assists and 1.5 steals.
With Randolph out of the lineup, the bulk of his minutes figure to go to a veteran trio of Tony Allen, Mike Miller and Ed Davis. The streak shooting Miller has averaged eight points and four rebounds in the series, while Allen is largely credited with frustrating league-leading scorer Kevin Durant to some of his coldest shooting of the season.