Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph is suspended for Game 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to a May 2 News 9 report. The NBA suspended Randolph during the 2014 NBA Playoffs for Game 7 in Round 1 because he threw a punch at OKC's Steven Adams.
With less than seven minutes left in the third quarter of the Game 6 rout, Zach Randolph was not happy with the way Steven Adams blocked him out. Randolph responded with an elbow to Adams's stomach, and then he threw a punch to his jaw. It seems like this veteran player should not have let his emotions get the best of him in the playoff game because now he has damaged his team's chances of winning game seven and the series in Oklahoma City.
The NBA responded to the punch with the suspension, which they announced on the NBA website today. Many Grizzlies fans are not happy with the situation, but Zach Randolph clearly threw the punch, so what else could the NBA do? Interestingly, during the game, Randolph only received a regular foul instead of a technical foul. Even so, the NBA reviewed the incident and arrived at their decision to suspend Zach Randolph for Game 7 in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
The news for the Memphis Grizzlies could get even worse because during Game 6, Mike Conley, also left with a slight hamstring strain, which may either keep him from playing in Game 7 against the Thunder, or if he does play, it could end up causing him problems.
While this suspension is a huge blow for the Memphis Grizzlies as they try to defeat the favored OKC team, they do still have options. One, they could start Tony Allen. Allen has been a major disruptive force to Kevin Durant in this series, and starting him would make sense even though it would be a smaller lineup. Another option for Memphis could be starting either Ed Davis or Kosta Koufos.
No matter which option they choose, the Grizzlies will likely sorely miss Zach Randolph in game seven. It seems unlikely, however, that the Oklahoma City Thunder will miss Randolph as they try to come back and win the Round 1 series.