Zach Randolph OK to start again

Updated: April 29, 2012, 10:08 PM ET
By Kevin Arnovitz | ESPN.com

MEMPHIS -- Zach Randolph started at power forward for the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round Game 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night.

"It's something I'm used to," Randolph said of being in the starting lineup. "I'm close to (100 percent). I'm still getting my feel, getting my timing, but I'm close."

He missed 38 games in the regular season after tearing his medial collateral ligament (MCL) on New Years Day.

He started in the Grizzlies' finale against Orlando, a win that clinched the No. 4 seed for Memphis, his only previous start in the month of April.

Randolph is matched up against Blake Griffin, who is making his postseason debut two months after starting in the All-Star Game.

"(Randolph) has an unbelievable touch around the rim," Griffin said on Saturday. "You have to account for him early and make sure he doesn't duck in on you. You have to make it tougher for him. He's going to make shots. That's what he does. That's what he's best at. My job is to slow him down."

Griffin's teammate, Chris Paul, will be closely monitored by the Clippers on Sunday night, as the All-Star point guard continues to nurse a mild left groin strain.

"He will play," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He will be limited, probably a little bit, just to see how he feels out there. He hasn't really been out there for a while, so we'll monitor it and see how he feels. We want to be smart about it. You got to win four games. You're not going to win the series tonight. Obviously, the first game is very important. We know that every game is, but we also know how important Chris is."

Paul suffered the strain during the Clippers' loss in Atlanta last Tuesday. Paul didn't play the following night in New York, when the Clippers fell to the Knicks and effectively handed home-court advantage in the first round to Memphis.

Since the injury, Paul hasn't participated in any full-contract drills and has been receiving regular treatment on the groin.

Informed of the possibility that his coach could limit his minutes as a measure of caution, Paul spiritedly rejected the idea.

"He better not! He better not," Paul said. "I'm ready to go."

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