Storyline: Fizdale-Randolph Dynamic

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Tim MacMahon: Grizzlies coach David Fizdale on Zach Randolph’s transition to sixth man this season: “It has been seamless. He has never bickered once to the press – not one time. You can go back through every paper, article or anything and he never complained. There were days when he was frustrated. He just stayed with it, and he’s embraced it. He’s got to be in the conversation of Sixth Man of the Year. I don’t know how he can’t be one of the finalists for that, looking at what he’s done on the glass and from a scoring stand point. I think a lot of the sixth men do a lot of scoring. Z-Bo is in the trenches for us, grabbing rebounds for us every night. I’m sure he leads the league for double-doubles off the bench. Yes, I am pitching for him, if you’re wondering.”

Tim MacMahon: Coach David Fizdale, who stuck with the duo down the stretch and in overtime of Memphis’ comeback win Friday over the Warriors, points to perimeter defense as the primary concern with the old-school lineup. Memphis is plus-25 in 278 minutes with Gasol and Randolph as a pairing. “I’ll make a deal with them,” Fizdale said. “I will say, ‘Hey, if you guys show me you can defend the 3-point line when you are out there together, then I will play you together more.”
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March 20, 2018 | 5:14 am EDT Update

Stephen Curry back Friday?

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is targeting a return to action on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks, the team’s next opponent, league sources told ESPN. The two-time MVP will have his right ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the evaluation reveals enough progress and there are no unforeseen setbacks from this point to Friday, the sharpshooter intends to play after missing the past five games, sources said.
2 hours ago via ESPN
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Marc Gasol said he will have questions about the direction of the team after the offseason. How will you reassure him that Memphis remains the best fit for him at this stage of his career? Chris Wallace: Marc is having a terrific career here, both individually – being a multiple All-Star, being defensive player of the year, the All-NBA recognition. And he’s had tremendous team success. So, I don’t think one off year from the team success side tarnishes what he’s achieved or necessarily is going to be the norm going forward for the Grizzlies. This happens to all sorts of teams, where you have not as good a year as where you expect to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump right back in and be successful again next year and that’s what our goal is. And he’s a big part of that.
Shumpert is almost certain to opt in for next season. Having dealt with foot and knee injuries, this is not the time for Shumpert to test free agency when he has $11 million guaranteed for next season, even if he’s not a part of the Kings’ long-term plans. I’m intrigued by what Shumpert might add. He’s only 27 and has shown he can play in pressure situations, having been a part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship team. Shumpert will be motivated to show the rest of the league he is healthy and that he can play a key role on a team.
Now that you’re in New York, this is a totally different market. How have you felt about the way the city has embraced you? Michael Beasley: Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. For the city and fans to embrace not only the way I play but who I am as much as they did – it feels great to be able to be yourself and be accepted. I thank the city forever for that. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win as much as we wanted to this year.
Players like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have talked about that anxiety. Do you think that has helped others be more open with their own struggles? Michael Beasley: Hats off to those guys, man. More people than you think go through that. I go through it. It took me awhile to realize it because we’re raised to believe that it’s an embarrassing thing. It’s definitely inspiring for them to be honest about what they are experiencing. They opened up the floodgates, they opened up the doors, for the next great NBA player or even the next great scientist. The next shy kid with anxiety can break out of their shell because of this.
I watched your interview with Taylor Rooks on SNY where you talked about parenting your daughter, painting your nails. I thought that was super cool. Michael Beasley: [Laughs] Listen, man. I lost my hood card because I’ve got paint on my nails, bro. So that’s good to hear. My four-year-old will be five in April. Not much will change in those years. I think it’s cool. People should be themselves no matter what anyone says and how it feels. Just be comfortable with being yourself.