Memphis Surging Towards Post Season

The Grizzlies have found a different approach to combining the talents of their two dominant forwards.

Injuries have limited the time Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph have spent on the floor together their first two years together. 

Separately, each has carried the team to success but together, they can guide the Grizzlies to the Finals.

The duo has played just 20 games together this season, after missing a majority of the action together a year ago, but have adjusted to new roles.

Wednesday, Gay and Randolph took turns dominating the Suns during a 104-93 win.

Gay poured in a season-high 32 points along with seven rebounds and two steals to lead Memphis to its fourth straight win.

In his 11th game off the bench, Randolph added 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and he fell just one rebound shy of his fourth consecutive double-double.

The Grizzles were able to dominate Phoenix in rebounding, finishing with a 43-31 advantage, as four Memphis players grabbed at least seven rebounds last night.

A new role off the bench and even a car accident haven’t been able to slow down Randolph.

In just over five minutes of action in the first quarter, Randolph scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds, becoming the offensive focal point following Gay’s nine points to open the period.

By combining with Gilbert Arenas, a mid-season free agent signing, the Grizzlies have strengthened a bench averaging 30 points per game this season.

Zach Randolph is averaging 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in a new role as sixth man in Memphis.

Even though Randolph is averaging just 12.2 points per game as he still recovers from his knee injury, his presence in the low post has allowed Arenas to become a lethal 3-point shooter.

The high scoring Arenas is shooting  a career-high 38.4 percent from beyond the arc through 10 games.

Memphis was forced to adjust to playing without its power forward forward as Randolph has played just 20 of 57 games this season.

Just four games into the season, Randolph went down with a knee injury, forcing Gay to take over.

Although he was snubbed from the All-Star game, in part to make room for teammate Marc Gasol, Gay is averaging 18.4 points, a career-high 6.4 rebounds and has improved as a defender.

The Grizzlies lead the league in steals per game, taking away 9.7 possessions from their opponents with Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Gay all ranking among the league leaders in steals.

For the Grizzlies, playing with their entire roster has been a rarity.

A year ago, Gay injured his shoulder, forcing him to miss the final 27 regular season games and an unexpected playoff run from Memphis.

The Grizzlies became just the fourth eighth seeded team to advance in the first round of the post season, as they knocked off the top ranked Spurs in six games.

Randolph led a charge all the way to Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, establishing himself as a franchise cornerstone in the process, averaging 22.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and sinking several key baskets along the way.

Rudy Gay scored a season-high 32 points to lead Memphis to victory Wednesday.

Once again Memphis is picking the best time of the year to play its best basketball.

The return of Randolph has solidified the Grizzlies lineup, as they have won nine of their last 11 games and ascended to fifth in the Western Conference standings.

Both losses came during the stretch have come in overtime and the Grizzlies are surrendering just 90.4 points per game over their past 10 contests.

Wednesday’s victory helped Memphis keep pace with both the Lakers and Clippers as they both won last night.

The Grizzlies sit just half a game behind the Clippers for the fourth, best record in the conference and the opportunity to host the opening round of the post season.

Following tonight’s game with San Antonio, the Grizzlies only two of their remaining eight contests come against teams with over a .500 record and both contests will be played at the FedEx Forum.

Memphis has won five-straight home games and finishing the year hosting its last three contests.

The Suns were able to keep the game close for the first 42 minutes of the game, but tied at 87, Memphis closed the game on a 17-6 run to close the game.

Since Valentine’s Day, the Grizzlies have won 20 of 29 games, shaking off a .500 start through 28 games to become one of the most dangerous teams entering the NBA playoffs.

Looks like the Grizzlies know exactly when to go on a significant run.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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