Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies powered their way to another playoff upset Sunday - not that he considers it one.
Randolph had a playoff career-high 34 points and 10 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 boards, and the Grizzlies outmatched the Oklahoma City Thunder inside for a 114-101 victory in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals in Oklahoma City.
“We believe,” Randolph said. “We definitely believe. Our confidence is up high. I tell the guys we can compete and play with anybody.”
Just as they did in a first-round upset of top-seeded San Antonio, Randolph and Gasol provided enough punch to give eighth-seeded Memphis a road victory in Game 1.
Randolph and Gasol each scored 20 points in the same regular-season game once this season, but did it in Game 1 against the Spurs and again Sunday to negate the Thunder’s home advantage.
“I think we always try to do that. The thing is that it’s not always possible,” Gasol said. “We always try to come out and execute and play the right way. It’s not always possible. Teams are going to adjust, and they’re going to do something different.
“We’ve got to keep being hungry, keep being unselfish offensively and defensively and keep playing the right way.”
Game 2 is Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 29, but the All-Star tandem couldn’t overcome a big advantage in the paint for Memphis.
Randolph had two games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the regular season against the Thunder, as Memphis won the series against the former Seattle SuperSonics, 3-1. And he was at it again from the tip, scoring the Grizzlies’ first seven points to provide them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“You can’t stop him. You’ve got to make them shoot tough shots like he’s been doing, but if he’s making them, he’s tough to stop,” Durant said.
“He’s an animal.”
Durant went on to say that he considers Randolph, a 10th-year veteran who’s bounced around the league with no postseason success until this year, to be “the best power forward in the league.”
“I’ve got to agree with that. Thanks, KD,” Randolph said with a smile. “I appreciate that.”
Before this year, Randolph hadn’t made the playoffs since his second year in the league with Portland in 2003 and — like the Grizzlies — had never won a postseason series before.
All that is changing now for Randolph, an All-Star choice last season who was left out of the midseason showcase this year.
“I’ve felt like I don’t get a lot of respect I deserve. It’s nothing personal or nothing,” Randolph said. “I just try to come out and be the same player, consistent during the regular season and during playoffs. I just try to be this way all the time, play my way all the time, and not be up and down.
“The good players be consistent and stay consistent, not just playoffs but during the regular season, also.”
The only player in the league to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds each of the past three seasons, Randolph teams with Gasol to make the Grizzlies the NBA’s most productive team in the paint with a 51.5-point average.
The Grizzlies racked up 52 against the Thunder, which had bolstered its interior defense with the trade deadline pickup of Kendrick Perkins from Boston.
That move allowed Serge Ibaka — the league’s top shot blocker — to move from center to power forward and give Oklahoma City two top defenders inside.
“They’re not an easy matchup,” Gasol said. “They’re big and strong, kind of how we are. But we’ve got different ways to play. We don’t just throw the ball in there and try to bang, bang.”
At Heat 99, Celtics 90: Dwyane Wade scored 38 points, James Jones set a Miami postseason record with 25 points off the bench, and Miami beat Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinal opener.
LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Heat.
“We’re going to have to fight for every inch, every game we get,” Wade said. “Right now, we won Game 1. We’re supposed to. We’ll go back and focus on winning Game 2. We’re at home, we have home-court advantage. They’re just trying to come in and steal one like they’ve done in the past. So it’s our job to come out with the same mentality in the next one.”
Ray Allen scored 25 for Boston. Paul Pierce scored 19 points before being ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up two technical fouls in a 59-second span.
Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were held to a combined 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting for the Celtics.
“There’s so many things we need to do to get better,” Allen said. “I think everybody in that locker room knows that, just from a small conversation we just had.”
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Miami.
Given how Boston ousted Miami last season, and ended James’ playoff runs with Cleveland in 2008 and 2010, these teams have history — and more than a bit of dislike, and that was apparent. It was physical throughout, with Delonte West earning a technical and Jermaine O’Neal picking up a flagrant foul along the way, before things really got hot in the fourth.
Pierce took offense with a hard foul by Jones, each getting double-technical ejections, and Pierce and Wade — who also have a bit of history — renewed acquaintances not long after that.
“Every game is going to go like this,” Wade said. “We look forward to the challenge.”
After leading Chicago to 62 wins in his first season as a head coach, Tom Thibodeau was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. Philadelphia’s Doug Collins finished second with San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich third. Thibodeau was an advance scout for the Sonics from 1991-92. “I’m flattered, humbled and honored,” Thibodeau said. “I think it’s more of a team award. When you win the way we’ve won — and hopefully we have more winning to do — individuals get recognized. But it’s more about the organization and players and entire coaching staff. You don’t achieve by yourself in this game.” Bulls guard Derrick Rose missed practice with an excused absence to tend to an undisclosed family matter, and forward Carlos Boozer participated on a limited basis because of turf toe.
Atlanta at Chicago, 5 p.m., TNT (series opener)
Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m.,TNT (series opener)