Memphis' Zach Randolph a real pain for Thunder

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: January 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm •  Published: January 7, 2011

Most disturbing was how Randolph bulldozed his way through Thunder forward Jeff Green. Randolph had eight points and six rebounds after one quarter and sat on 16 points and 11 rebounds at halftime.

Green, meanwhile, finished without a single rebound and scored just eight points on 1-for-5 shooting. It was only the third time in Green's career that he failed to grab a rebound — the first time since Jan. 29, 2008, Green's rookie season.

“That wasn't Jeff,” Brooks said.

Green's shot at redemption comes tonight, but his teammates insist that stopping Randolph takes a team effort.

“He's just relentless,” said Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison, who along with center Nenad Krstic is also expected to draw minutes against Randolph.

Collison and crew spent Tuesday's game fronting Randolph and trying to force a poor pass over the top. In the rare instances that the Thunder found success with that strategy, preventing Memphis from making a pass, Randolph would simply rotate to the opposite block and re-post there.

“Zach thrives on you relaxing and then stepping in and sealing you,” Collison said. “Or (waiting for you to) relax and knocking you off from rebounds. So it's a game that you have to be on and be connected to him the whole game.”

Guard pressure, Collison said, also is key.

“The guy can't just be able to throw a laser pass to him,” Collison said. “You need that second of hesitation on the guard's part to be able to fight around him.

“We need to be the aggressors on the defensive end. We need to affect what they're doing. We need to be able to affect them and push them back so they can't be the ones attacking us.”

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Thunder vs. Grizzlies

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Oklahoma City Arena

TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

*This is the second of four meetings between the teams. The Thunder lost, 110-105, to the Grizzlies on Tuesday at FedEx Forum.

*Memphis played Utah on Friday night. The Grizzlies are 5-6 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

*The Thunder is 18-4 when scoring at least 100 points. The Grizzlies are 2-14 when they allow at least 100 points.

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