The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Indiana Pacers last night 96-84, but Zach Randolph played fewer than 15 minutes in a professional basketball game for the first time since January 1st, 2012 when O.J. Mayo collided with his knee and sprained Z-Bo's MCL.
In fact, since 2003 Zach Randolph had only played 14 or fewer minutes in five games, only 1 of which were with the Grizzlies (Mayo knee).— Chris Faulkner (@FaulknerMemphis) December 20, 2015
This is kind of incredible on a few fronts.
Front A) Randolph has been one hell of a stalwart. If he's been on the court for Memphis he's been a big part of what they're doing. But not last night. Z-Bo finished with 14:23 minutes, 6 points and 2 rebounds – he also finished with a team low (-9) on the plus/minus. We'd already seen the tide changing this way, but now we have an official statistical hallmark to signify the change.
Front B) The Grizzlies don't have any backup big men outside of JaMychal Green who really only plays big and does so primarily as a rebounder. The age of small ball has apparently arrived here in Memphis, TN.
Front C) Vince Carter played significantly more minutes than Randolph, and he contributed significantly more too. And I'm choosing to interpret this as a positive for Carter more than a negative for Randolph.
We now witness the changing of the guard as Memphis wins a game with Tony Allen sitting out and little contribution from Z-Bo. The Grizzlies have another slow-pitch coming their way on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Hopefully we see an encouraging encore to their win over the Pacers.