Zach Randolph Starting for Memphis Again, Ready for the Playoffs

Z-Bo appears ready to turn into the dominant postseason force we’ve grown accustomed to (or something fairly similar), which is bad news for the LA Clippers in Round 1. Per the Commercial Appeal: “Coach Lionel Hollins went into the Grizzlies’ 88-76 win over the Orlando Magic in the teams’ regular-season finale intending to judge Randolph’s effectiveness. Hollins reinserted Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, and the veteran power forward played as though he had something to prove. The verdict? Randolph looked inspired and lively offensively and on the boards, and a bit challenged defensively. But he expects to start when the Griz host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday for the start of their first-round playoff series. If that happens — and Hollins remains noncommittal — then the expectation is for Randolph to be the consistent force he was against Orlando. ‘He was good. He was active and aggressive,’ Hollins said, joking that Randolph ‘probably leads the league in getting his shot blocked. But he was good. He has to be better in pick-and-roll defense. But it was a solid performance.’ Randolph finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. He would have had a couple of more assists if teammates had finished easy layups after catching nifty passes from Randolph out of the post. ‘Tonight is the Zach we expect to see (in the playoffs),’ guard Mike Conley said. ‘When he’s aggressive like that, he’s looking for guys cutting and we can rely on him down the stretch.’ Randolph, who missed 37 games because of a torn MCL, said he’s in better shape since losing weight and putting in extra work in the gym after practices. ‘And that brace kind of limited me,’ Randolph said. ‘I can move a little better now. I expect to be a presence in the paint, getting rebounds and getting double-teamed. I know I have to pick and chose my spots (offensively), but I can be aggressive on the offensive glass and finding my teammates.'”