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Grizzlies F Randolph takes out frustrations on Nuggets in rout

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Updated 10 months ago on
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Forward Zach Randolph posted his 11th consecutive double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 99-69 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, but his consistency failed to earn him what he coveted: a reserve spot on the All-Star team.

The reserves were announced shortly before tipoff and Randolph used the snub to punish the Nuggets. Behind Randolph’s lead, the Grizzlies (34-12) earned their ninth win in 10 games overall and their seventh in their past eight home games.

Randolph, averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds since returning from a right knee injury Jan. 9, spoke only briefly after the game. When the subject about his omission from the all-star game arose, he mentioned “politics, politics.”

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who turned 30 Thursday, said Randolph deserved to join him on the All-Star team, as did point guard Mike Conley, who missed the game with a wrist injury. Gasol will be the starting center for the Western Conference.

“Obviously, I want them both there,” Gasol said. “I feel like they both deserve it (especially) when we’re the second-best team in the West. When you play well and you’re a winning team, you’re supposed to be there.”

As for Randolph, he did not play in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies rested their starters after ending the third with a 25-point lead.

Randolph’s string of 11 straight double-doubles is three shy of the team record he holds. His 17 rebounds gave him double-figure boards for the 17th straight game, a career-high.

“Z-Bo is a workhorse,” said Grizzlies forward Tony Allen. “He’s up for the challenge every game. He’s our leader. We go as he goes.

“He’s back to that level in the 2010-11 season when we were able to beat the Spurs (in the playoffs). We’re going to need to ride on his back as we go forward.”

Forward Jeff Green added 13 points for Memphis, and guards Courtney Lee, Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes scored 11 each. The Grizzlies are 7-1 since acquiring Green in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans three weeks ago and 5-0 since moving him into the starting lineup.

“It was a good win,” said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. “We caught a team on a tough night. I think they got us on a tough night at their place (a 114-85 Memphis loss Jan. 3) on the second of a back-to-back. I thought when we defended we made it tough for them.”

Denver, which lost for the eighth time in nine games, shot 2-for-26 from beyond the arc and 33.3 percent from the floor overall. Forwards Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried had 10 points each to lead the Nuggets (19-28).

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw dismissed excuses for his team’s poor performance, especially the notion his team was fatigued by playing consecutive nights. Denver beat New Orleans Wednesday night.

“If my memory is correct, this isn’t the first year that a team has ever played back-to-backs,” Shaw said. “Back-to-backs have been a part of the game from its inception, so that’s no excuse. I didn’t feel like we came and competed from the very beginning of the game.”

“I’d have more respect if guys just told me that they didn’t feel like playing from the start. I’ m just sick and tired. One night giving a certain effort and the next night you don’t show up and you don’t compete.”

Leading by 15 at the half, the Grizzlies extended the margin to 74-49 after three quarters and built an 86-53 cushion midway through the fourth behind their reserves.

Despite playing without the injured Conley for the second straight game, the Grizzlies jumped quickly to a 19-9 lead thanks to Conley’s replacement. Udrih had seven points during the rapid start.

The Grizzlies shot 52 percent in the first quarter and led 26-11. They boosted their lead to 19 late in the second quarter by taking advantage of poor shooting by the Nuggets. Denver missed 12 of its 13 3-point attempts in the first half, including all five tries in the second quarter, to allow Memphis to build a 50-35 halftime lead. The Nuggets shot 19 percent in the first quarter and 34 percent in the half.

The only negative for the Grizzlies in the half came midway through the second quarter when reserve swingman Vince Carter sustained a left foot injury and had to be helped off the floor. He will undergo further evaluation Friday.

NOTES: The Grizzlies’ 114-85 loss at Denver on Jan. 3 was Memphis’ laregst margin of defeat this season. Grizzlies F Zach Randolph did not play in the game. He was in the midst of missing nine straight games with a right knee injury. … Nuggets C JaVale McGee returned to action and scored two points in 15 minutes Thursday. He missed 77 games last season with a stress fracture in his left tibia, has missed 23 games this season with a strain in the surgically repaired leg. … The Grizzlies held the Nuggets to 11 points in the first quarter, a Grizzlies’ opponent low for an opening frame. The previous low was limiting New Orleans to 13 points Nov. 3 in New Orleans.

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