On the same day that Zach Randolph received praise for his model behavior -- and showed interest in keeping that attitude in Memphis over the long run -- he went out and got himself ejected after jawing with officials despite his clearly fouling Denver Nuggets center Nene.
But Z-Bo wasn't the only Grizzly with attitude issues tonight, though his were the most obvious. Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo both struggled and seemed to lack focus; they combined for just 20 points. Gay took bad jumpers most of the first half, possibly frustrated by dealing with Carmelo Anthony on both ends. And O.J. didn't seem to have his legs under him. He just passed up all the right shots and seemed to take all the wrong ones.
Hasheem Thabeet finally appeared to be hustling again, notching 7 points, 6 boards, and 4 blocked shots. But Thabeet's presence, or lack thereof, on the offensive end allowed the Nuggets to constantly double team O.J. or Rudy when either had the ball. That left the two scorers, who are hardly elite passers, in difficult situations that seemed to result in an endless stream of turnovers and fastbreak buckets for the Nuggets.
The entire lack of any coherent team action, either offensive or defensive, was only exacerbated by Randolph's issues with the referees and Denver's front of Nene and Kenyon Martin. After missing shots Zach made several terrible fouls on Nene. And he clearly pushed off on Kenyon Martin on several occasions that didn't draw a whistle -- in other words, his bad night should have been worse.
Uncharacteristically, if anyone deserves praise it's the Grizzlies bench, who played acceptably well against the Nuggets better than average reserves. Marcus Williams led the team with 6 assists, Sam Young scored 18 efficiently and aggressively, and Darrell Arthur nearly double-doubled with 2 blocks and 2 steals.
Turns out the Grizzlies are finishing this season about the same way that they started it, and we all know that's not a good omen. Look for a slightly more enthusiastic effort on Wednesday when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder during the last game of the season.