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Randolph's late flurry powers Grizzlies past Suns in OT

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- Memphis center Marc Gasol has played alongside Zach Randolph long enough to know when the Grizzlies' veteran forward is unstoppable.

"He has a little bounce, like a boxer, and raises his eyebrow," Gasol said. "You can see it in his face when he's feeling it."

Randolph had that look Tuesday, throwing jab after jab against Phoenix before he knocked the Suns out in overtime. He finished with 38 points and 22 rebounds in the Grizzlies' 108-98 victory at FedExForum.

In the extra period, Randolph had six points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Memphis (13-3) hit five of eight field-goal attempts in overtime while outscoring the Suns 14-4.

Randolph scored on a 5-footer from almost behind the backboard after grabbing an offensive rebound, then swished 18-foot and 17-foot fadeaways over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-11 Phoenix center Marcin Gortat. The explosive finish ended a night that started when Randolph spun around the Suns' Markieff Morris and dunked three minutes into the game.

"When I get that little hop in my step, it means I'm going," said Randolph, who made 15 of 22 field-goal attempts and all eight of his free throws. "That's the best I've felt since the playoffs two years ago. I played aggressive. My confidence was high, so I wanted the ball. I felt like my old self."

Randolph missed 2 1/2 months last season when he injured a knee in early January against Chicago when a teammate fell into his leg. Although Randolph returned in mid-March, he didn't have any pop his stride, and he basically played on one leg.

So far this season, with the Grizzlies getting balanced scoring, there hasn't been a need for Randolph to demand the ball and put up 20-plus points. But with the Suns (7-12) playing inspired ball at the end of a six-game road trip, Memphis needed everything it could get from Randolph.

"A lot of teams have been sending two and three guys at Zach, so his numbers have been down," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of Randolph, who entered Tuesday's game as the NBA's second-leading rebounder. "But in this game, he got a lot of one-on-one and was able to operate. Our spacing was really good, which allowed him to drive, clean up the glass and do other stuff."

A 9-2 Phoenix run to end the first quarter kept the Suns in control until final 90 seconds of regulation, when Randolph hit a running hook across the lane to tie the game at 91-91. Phoenix's pick-and-roll defense gave Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley plenty of problems for most of the night, as he couldn't get Memphis in its offensive sets quickly enough.

Meanwhile, the Suns got solid games from guard Goran Dragic, who had 19 points and seven assists, and from a bench that scored 46 points. Reserve forward Luis Scola contributed 16 points, eight rebounds and a game-high three steals.

"(The Grizzlies) are a team with the best record in the NBA, so you know they are going to make a run," Suns swingman Jared Dudley said. "We didn't get the stops we needed at the end of regulation, and in overtime, it was the Z-Bo Show. He was a monster out there."

Randolph had some help. Gasol added 14 points and nine rebounds before fouling out. Quincy Poindexter scored 16 off the bench, and Rudy Gay had 14 points, including a game-tying 12-foot drive with 15.9 seconds left to sent the contest into overtime.

"We played with great energy and effort, but that team is really good," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of the Grizzlies. "There's no reason they won't be in the (playoff) mix long into May and June. They've got everything. I'm not real sure where their weakness is. If someone would tell me, I'd like to know."

NOTES: Randolph's 38 points were his most ever in a Memphis uniform. Factoring in his 22 rebounds, he recorded the fifth 30-20 game in Grizzlies history, and he owns three of those. ... Memphis overcame its largest deficit of the season. The Grizzlies trailed the Suns by 16 points, 45-29, with 3:54 left in the second quarter. ... It was the second straight overtime game for the Grizzlies after they lost 99-95 at San Antonio on Saturday night. ... The Phoenix bench outscored the Memphis reserves 46-24. ... Conley on Randolph's early dunk: "When he's spinning and dunking, we knew it was going to be a good night. You don't see that too often."
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