It’s not tanking for a playoff seed, it’s resting.
That’s the official line from Memphis coach Lionel Hollins on why he sat Zach Randolph Tuesday night (and Tony Allen). And he will do so again Wednesday night, Hollins told the Commercial Appeal.
“Tony’s hurt,” Hollins said. “I didn’t want to play Zach these last two games because I want to get him some rest and get him healthy. He banged his elbow the other night. Tony’s knee swelled up. He would have played if I would have let him but I don’t know how effective he would have been.”
This will mean more Darrell Arthur, which is not a bad thing (he’s no Randolph but he’s played well this season). Arthur only played 15 minutes Tuesday night in Portland due to foul trouble. There is speculation in the Memphis media that Marc Gasol and other Grizzlies could sit as well Wednesday night.
The likely result of that is Memphis will lose to the Clippers Wednesday night, which will lock them in at the eight seed and mean they face San Antonio in the first round. (A Memphis win and a New Orleans loss would have Memphis the seven seed, meaning likely the Lakers.)
Which clearly is the goal, to target facing the Spurs and not the Lakers. It just seems an odd strategy — San Antonio does not have the Lakers size along the front line, but their level of execution is not something Memphis will be able to match. But the Grizzlies have picked their poison.