The Oklahoma City Thunder worked hard to ensure they got this series to a Game 7. They fought hard throughout Game 6 and took a 20 point victory, leveling the series at 3-3 and sending it back to Chesapeake Arena, in front of their home town fans.
While Mike Conley appeared to have strained his hamstring in the clash, the news got worse recently for the Memphis Grizzlies who will now have to take on the Thunder without the services of their leading scorer Zach Randolph. Randolph has been suspended for Game 7 by the NBA after striking Thunder rookie Steve Adams in the midsection and then throwing a punch to his throat.
Randolph has had his fair share of incidents like this during the course of his career, but since coming to Memphis, there hasn’t been as many headlines made through poor behavior. He plays a physical, bruising brand of basketball, but the majority of the time it is legal. Unfortunately for him and the Grizzlies, this latest incident wasn’t and he has been penalized accordingly.
The Grizzlies are no doubt disappointed in the outcome and they have every right to be, but the rules are in place and every player knows them – breaching them requires punishment and that is what the NBA have decided.
New Zealand rookie Steven Adams is a physically imposing presence himself, and although in just his first year in the league, he showed a great deal of poise and maturity to not fire back and inflame the situation, meaning he will be available for the Thunder in Game 7.
Memphis now have to adjust their game plan in light of the absence of Randolph. They still have plenty of depth and a number of options with their lineups to cause the Thunder headaches. If Mike Conley is healthy, the Grizzlies can go small which has produced positive results for them in the past.
While Zach Randolph may miss Game 7, make sure you don’t because it is sure to be an intense ending to a phenomenal first round playoff series.
Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder