Grizzlies Slow to Start
San Antonio — Zach Randolph’s miserable Western Conference finals debut led to a sleepless night and a long film session.
The All-Star power forward and his Memphis Grizzlies are hardly down and out, though. In both rounds of the playoffs so far, Memphis has lost Game 1 before rallying back to knock out the Los Angeles Clippers and then the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This time, Randolph had his worst game ever in the playoffs, managing two points in a 105-83 blowout. His only lower-scoring game in 40 playoff appearances was when he played 1 minute as a rookie for Portland in a 2002 game.
“It’s more frustrating than embarrassing,” said Randolph, who missed his first seven shots in Game 1. “It’s basketball. It happens to the best of them.
“Muhammad Ali, he got knocked down before. What made him the greatest fighter in the world is he always bounced back.”
It took the Grizzlies two games to get off the mat in the first round, when they suffered a 21-point blowout at Los Angeles and then lost on a Chris Paul buzzer-beater in Game 2. Memphis then won the next four.
There weren’t as many adjustments needed in Round 2, when Kevin Durant’s spectacular finish lifted Oklahoma City to a two-point win in the opener. Again, the Grizzlies won four straight to advance.
So, the panic button is nowhere in sight for these comeback kids with Game 2 on tonight in San Antonio.
The Spurs had a surprisingly easy time against the NBA’s best defense in Game 1, shooting 53 percent and making a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers on just 29 attempts. It took Memphis too long to settle in during its first conference finals appearance, and San Antonio was up 17 by the end of the first quarter and 20 in the second quarter.
Pacers Expect West vs. Heat
Indianapolis — Pacers forward David West is expected to play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami, despite an injured right leg.
Team doctors held West out of yesterday’s practice with what coach Frank Vogel described as a calf strain or lower leg strain. He did shoot around with his teammates after practice ended. Vogel said doctors thought it would be best to give West a day off.
Pacers center Roy Hibbert had his right thumb taped after getting hit in practice. He finished the workout and it is not expected to keep him out of the Miami game tomorrow night.
Charltote, n.c. — A person familiar with the situation says Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is changing his team’s name to the Hornets.
The person says Jordan will detail the timetable for the change to be completed at a press conference the Bobcats have scheduled for today. The person spoke to The Associated Press yesterday on condition of anonymity because the name change has not been publicly announced.
NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver previously has said it would take “about 18 months” for the Bobcats to change their name. That means Charlotte could once again become the Hornets by the 2014-15 season.
The Hornets resided in Charlotte from 1988-2002 before then-owner George Shinn moved the franchise to New Orleans. The New Orleans Hornets recently changed their name to the Pelicans.