The Memphis Grizzlies are in serious trouble heading into Game 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
The NBA announced on Friday that Zach Randolph would be suspended for the next game for this combo-hit against Steven Adams late in the fourth quarter of Game 6:
Based on the initial replay, a suspension seems rather extreme. However, watch a super slowmo of the play provided by NBA.com, and you can clearly see the extensive damage Randolph attempted to pull on Stevens by first elbowing the rookie in the midsection and quickly following that up with a hit to the neck area.
With Mike Conley already questionable due to a hamstring injury, the Grizzlies may be forced to play without two major starters in the most important game of their season. It’s a very unfortunate situation, but Randolph made it easy for the league to come to the harsh decision. Gary Payton, however, couldn’t believe the ruling:
Can’t believe they suspended Z-Bo for game 7…………smh
— Gary Payton (@GaryPayton_20) May 2, 2014
Certainly, the reaction by Payton is understandable, given the era he used to play in and what the league used to allow then. It is a different era now, though, and the kind of double-hit Randolph pulled simply isn’t tolerated anymore.
James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.