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Grizzlies Practice Report: Zach Randolph couldn't sleep after game

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

SAN ANTONIO -- Zach Randolph is not hiding it. He knows how badly he played in Game 1 and after pracitce Monday made no bones about how much it affected him.

"I apologized to the guys for the way I played, Randolph said. "I have to come out and give them something.

"I've been hard on myself. I couldn't sleep last night."

Randolph was limping with both knees iced after practice, but told CBSSports.com he's "allright," and the biggest problem is his patience.

"I'll feel better once we get the game going," the two-time All-Star said after he went 1-for-8 on Sunday. "I wanted to play today."

As eager as he and the Grizzlies are to put Game 1 behind them, they also knew they have a lot of work to do in order to correct the defensive disaster that lead to a playoff record 14 made 3-pointers for the Spurs Sunday.

For Randolph, the focus is on the offensive end. The Spurs used a series of complex defensive help tactics to deter and frustrate Randolph away from getting post position. (Read: Zach Harper breaks down how the Spurs frustrated Randolph in Game 1.)

Randolph listed two key adjustments the Grizzlies planned on making to counteract the Spurs' plans. First of all, the want to get into their sets quicker, a problem that has persisted all season, with the ball sticking too much instead of moving and then flowing into the post.

"It's more about adjustments than executions," Randolph told reporters. "We've got to set more screen and rolls and get into our sets faster.

"We want to slow them down and get into our sets quicker. We want to pick up our offensive pace up a little bit."

His big-man partner in crime, Marc Gasol, said part of the issue was how the Spurs were attacking him in the high-low game, which has been very effective for Memphis in getting the ball to Randolph.

"They're fronting Z," Gasol said. "We've seen a lot of different coverages over the years. They're playing up on me, trying to disrupt my passing. They're also leaving the corners open and plugging the paint with three guys. We have to keep moving the ball and staying patient. We cannot hold the ball. When we hold the ball, we allow them to load up."

Randolph also emphasized how the Spurs are bringing extra defenders from the corners.

"When I post up you've got somebody fronting me but you got another guy coming from the back, and the guys from the corner. They've got three guys coming down on me."

The Grizzlies to a man mentioned how important moving the ball and hitting open shots would be in Game 2. They have to force the action away from Randolph to open him up, which might mean using him as a decoy early.

"I'm drawing so much pressure," Randolph said, "that it's opening up guys. We can use me as a decoy to open it up for them. It's going to open up for me eventually. I've got to pick and choose my spots, then attack."

Defense was a much bigger issue for Memphis. Randolph didn't mince words about the overall performance.

"We were soft," he said. "We didn't play our game, we didn't play grit and grind basketball."

Gasol took a more technical approach to the issues, saying how after they watched the film, the problem was less about help defenders coming from the corners too much and about how the Grizzlies failed to defend the initial pick and roll action well enough.

"Communicating is one thing we noticed," he said. "We've got to do better at being up on the ball. We got into a scramble too early. We got lost on their pick-and-rolls and they got a lot of open shots.

"We had to over-help becuse we broke down defensively too easily and too quick. Against a good team like they are, a patient team, they're going to find one guy, you're going to scramble, and they're going to drive and kick until they find the shot they want. "

Gasol focused a lot on the communication issues, stating the team failed to switch when they would call for switches and wouldn't maintain pressure when they went over screens. The result was a bombardment from the Spurs as they hit a playoff record 14 3's.

The Grizzlies followed up on Mike Conley's comments from Sunday. They were plain mad following Game 1.

"We should be angry," Gasol said. "We should be mad. But we came in and practice was at a better pace. We just ahve to make the adjustments."

"We're all smart," Quincy Pondexter said. "We're all professionals. We're not going to let it linger, but we won't forget. You're only as good as your last game."

Randolph put it a lot more bluntly.

"We were soft. We didn't play our game, we didn't play grit and grind basketball."

Can you play that kind of style against a Spurs team that is more prepared for Memphis than they were in 2011? Game 2 stands as a huge test to answer that question Tuesday night.

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