NBA

Memphis Grizzlies clinch final play-off place

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With seven of the eight playoff places confirmed in the Western Conference, two teams were battling it out for the final place in this years' play-offs and it was the Memphis Grizzlies who came out on top.

The Grizzlies travelled to take on the Phoenix Suns and won the game 97-91 at the US Airways Centre.

Memphis started on the front foot and controlled the first quarter scoring 24 to Phoenix's 14; forward Zach Randolph played the full twelve minutes for the Grizzlies and scored 13 points, hitting six out of his 10 attempted field goals.Point guard Goran Dragic could only score four points in the first quarter for the Suns.

Suns coach, Jeff Hornacek knew what was at stake in this encounter, and he seemed to make it more aware to the players heading into the second as they won the quarter 28-22. Dragic scored eight points and grabbed two assists, one of which was a pass with 23 seconds left on the clock to Eric Bledsoe who scored to bring his tally to seven points in the quarter.

Meanwhile, Mike Miller scored 13 points for David Joerger's team, and this was a crucial addition for the Grizzlies going in at half-time as the visitors still had a two point lead over the Suns at 46-44. But the Phoenix fans were lively, and it seemed to get the players pumped up, as they fought back again in the third quarter winning their second consecutive quarter 25-21.

Markleff Morris hit eight points for the home team, while Channing Frye added seven to the board. The Grizzlies were trying to find their feet as Randolph could only manage six points, and going into the fourth it was all to play for with the game tied at 67-67.

12 minutes would separate a team from the play-off places with the other going home to lick their wounds, but it was the Grizzlies who took the fourth quarter 30-24 points clinching the match.

Mike Conley managed ten points for Joerger's side, with Randolph scoring eight bringing his tally to 32 points in the game, and centre Marc Gasol added a much needed seven.

The Suns held their heads in disbelief in front of their home crowd, and point guard Dragic spoke to ESPN after the game stating he was 'speechless and disappointed'.

"It's really tough to say something positive right now. When you are so close to the playoffs, you always want some little bit more" he said.

Phoenix had lost two games on the bounce before heading into this decider, and despite winning 47 games this season it wasn't enough. The Grizzlies meanwhile have only lost two out of their seven games in the month of April; including wins against the LA Lakers and Miami Heat.

Memphis finished fifth in the Western Conference last season while the Suns could look back on an improved season having finished bottom of the Conference last campaign, having only won 25 games.

But with David Joerger knowing they've secured a play-off place, up next for Memphis is the Dallas Mavericks, who sit seventh in the Western Conference, as the loser will have to play the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference first round.

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Topics:
Phoenix Suns
Memphis Grizzlies
Western Conference
NBA Playoffs
NBA

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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