The Atlanta Hawks catch a bit of a break on Wednesday evening, as the Memphis Grizzlies will be without All-Star power forward Zach Randolph, who is inactive as a result of a knee injury.
The 33-year-old Randolph has missed eight consecutive games as a result of the ailment, but there was some speculation that he could return in Atlanta. He is averaging 16.1 points and 11.4 rebounds on the season, and without him, the Grizzlies are missing a significant part of their offensive dynamic.
With Randolph's absence on the table, the Hawks still must deal with a darkhorse MVP candidate in center Marc Gasol. When prompted about Gasol's impact in pregame, head coach Mike Budenholzer had this to say:
"Any time you have a guy that can really dominate near the basket and in the post... it changes things defensively."
"He can attract a crowd. He's such a great passer.... Hopefully, we can make it tougher for him to catch, maybe limit his catches."
And, of course. We shouldn't forget this.
"He's very, very good and effective."
Wednesday's match-up with Memphis is yet another high-end test for the red-hot Hawks, and the winner of the Gasol vs. Al Horford individual battle could have a leg up toward victory. Stay tuned.