Memphis forward Zach Randolph, shown driving against against Utah forward… (Lance Murphey / Associated…)
Zach Randolph simply dominated NBA news with his own special brand of Zach-ness this last week, just as he dominates the paint.
There was a $25,000 fine from the NBA for his off-court confrontation with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kendrick Perkins. And earlier, the Grizzlies power forward was the subject of a fascinating, lengthy profile by former Times reporter Jonathan Abrams on the website Grantland.
The topper of the week happened to be Randolph's own words when he was interviewed by radio host Chris Vernon in Memphis. He channeled his inner Robert De Niro when asked about how the issue got started on the court with Perkins.
"When you are talking to Marc [Gasol], you're talking to me," Randolph said. "That's how that roll."
Vernon later asked Randolph if he could take Perkins. (That was the cleaned-up version of the question, by the way.)
Randolph: "I'm good with these hands, man. … Every day I came out of my house I had to fight. Me and my brothers."
Incidentally, the radio program started with a mention of Randolph planning to deliver holiday food baskets for 500 families, a Thanksgiving offering, to a local high school.
Randolph previously played for Portland, New York and the Clippers. Sadly, his tenure with the Clippers was far too brief, limited to a mere 39 games in the 2008-09 season.
There were highlights, however.
Who else would bring his two pit bulls to the Clippers' practice facility? The dogs, memorably, were named Gucci and Prada and scampered around the parking lot when Randolph did an interview.
"When people think of pit bulls, they think of aggressive dogs" and dog fighting," Randolph told The Times in 2009. "I can show you a dog that's made over $500,000, just stud and breeding and selling puppies. My dogs don't bite…. I like to have the best-looking dog."
Brook in Brooklyn
The Nets' Brook Lopez seems to be burying last season's injury-riddled saga.
Lopez had 26 points and five rebounds in Friday night's 86-76 win against the slow-to-adjust Clippers, continuing a strong recent run. He has had 20 or more points in six of his last seven games.
Brooklyn Coach Avery Johnson talked about his presence in the paint and consistency in the low post when the Nets were practicing at UCLA last week.
"The kid has a lot of character, and I think he's getting tired of seeing it on video when he doesn't do what we want him to do," Johnson said. "So let's give him a little credit. He has some pride. He has some fire in him.
"The times where we think he should block a shot or at times where we don't think he goes to the boards enough, he sees it on video quite a bit."
Players' coach, yes.
Soft touch, no.
Apparently, there won't be an absence of fire and fury from new Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni. Nets' shooting guard Joe Johnson, many years removed from his time with D'Antoni in Phoenix, remembered the ups and down with the Suns.
"He's very easygoing, but you don't want to take him on, man," Johnson said at Brooklyn's shoot-around a few hours before D'Antoni's coaching debut with the Lakers.
"I've seen D'Antoni snap. I couldn't believe it. He is an easygoing man until you do something that is out of character or something you shouldn't. He'll definitely jump down your throat."
But D'Antoni gave him the chance to flourish.
"He just let me play through mistakes more than anything else," Johnson said. "I made mistakes, but he let me learn on the fly. It was great."
Johnson did not get the chance to play Tuesday against his former Suns teammate, Laker point guard Steve Nash, who remains out because of an injured leg.
"Man, I'm telling you he don't age." Johnson said. "What is he, 38 now? That's amazing. He has the type of game … he's not an athletic player. He just basically has a grounded, slow-paced game. He can play till he's about 45."
— Lisa Dillman