Well, here it is. The most important game of the Memphis Grizzlies season, and the NBA has all but taken the fun out of it. The Grizzlies will be without Zach Randolph due to an unwarranted suspension after he “punched” Thunder Center Steven Adams in the face.
The Grizzlies are coming off of a 20 point blowout loss at home on Thursday night against Oklahoma City which saw the team squander away an opportunity to close out the series. Oklahoma City pummeled the Grizzlies 104-84 in what was the most lopsided loss this series.
After 4 straight OT games, the fans were hoping for another fantastic ending to the game, but trailing 40-35 late in the 2nd quarter, the Thunder went on a 16-6 run to extend the lead to 15 at the break. Memphis tried to claw its way back into the game early in the 3rd, but the Thunder ended up being in the bonus 3 minutes in. The Thunder were awarded 17 free throw attempts in the 3rd quarter compared to two for the Grizzlies and that all but halted any comeback attempt they had in the tank.
Zach Randolph will be absent for tonight’s game, Tony Allen is questionable after being jabbed in the eye by Caron Butler in game 6 on Thursday night, and Mike Conley is coming off of a hamstring injury which he suffered late in game 6. Ed Davis will get the start for Memphis on Saturday night in replacing Zach Randolph. Though Davis is undersized, he is far more athletic than Z-Bo. Davis averaged less than 6 points per game this season, but shot 53% from the field and was very efficient when on the floor.
A key stat when looking at Davis is his PER. His PER on the season is 15.99 which is only two points below Randolph. The average PER for a player in the league is 15. Another stat I’d like to point out about Ed Davis is that Per 48 minutes on the floor, Ed averages 17 ppg and 13 rebounds on 53% shooting. The shooting percentage is 7% higher than Randolph’s during the regular season.
I’m sure Grizzlies fans are upset about the suspension of Randolph for the all important game 7. Fans did have a point to make to the NBA, because earlier in the playoffs, Lebron James gets elbowed in the neck by Josh McRoberts of Charlotte and receives no suspension. There were also several altercations in the Indiana-Atlanta series and no players received suspensions. Memphis will just have to battle it out tonight without their best player on the floor.
The Grizzlies will be wearing their Beale Street Blue uniforms which they wore in game 2 and game 5. They’re 2-0 wearing the uniforms this series, so hopefully it brings some good luck.
TV: (National) – TNT 7 p.m. CST, (Local) – Sports South.
Radio: 92.9 ESPN in Memphis