Whenever Zach Randolph goes up against his former backup in David Lee (they played together in New York), his eyes tend to light up. The power forward plants himself on the right side, bullies his way to the basket and has his way against the smaller Lee almost every time the two are matched up against each other.
Randolph has compiled a career average of 20.8 points and 11.3 rebounds whenever facing Lee, with an overall record of 12-2. The two losses came prior to his days with the Memphis Grizzlies. Yes, this means he has yet to lose against the Golden State Warriors since donning a Grizzlies jersey, and he is one of the biggest reasons for this feat.
So it came as a surprise when Randolph had a very quiet night on Wednesday against the Warriors, going three-of-seven from the field for six measly points. At the end of the night, though, he continued to see single coverage and eventually went to work on the trimmed-down Lee once again, posting 15 second-half points and 12 rebounds.
Another game against Golden State, another win.
What exactly was the difference between the first and second half? Grizzlies owner Robert Pera may have the answer to that question:
During halftime, I asked @MacBo50 if he was giving David Lee the night off, I think he took it personal!
— Robert J Pera (@RobertPera) November 21, 2013
Apparently, a friendly little reminder from the owner was all it took for Randolph to realize that Lee cannot contain him in a single-coverage situation. For some reason, the Warriors repeatedly allowed Randolph to go to work against Lee without sending any help, and it turned out to be their demise once again.
The Grizzlies are still in the process of re-identifying themselves this season as they work to become a strong playoff team after trading away Rudy Gay last season. Privately, they have to be hoping to face the Warriors when the postseason arrives, given their ridiculous rate of success against them over the past few years.
James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. Find him on twitter @SheridanBlog.