(PHOENIX, Ariz.) — Zach Randolph had a season-high 32 as Memphis clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 97-91 win over Phoenix. The Grizzlies can finish as high as seventh in the West while the Suns were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
Memphis (49-32) was 10-15 on Dec. 18 but regrouped to close out the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Their most recent win did not come easily as 15 lead changes occurred.
With the Suns leading 91-90 with 1:27 remaining, the Grizzlies scored the final seven points of the game to secure the win. Mike Conley hit his only three to give Memphis the lead for good before Randolph converted a turnover into two points for a 95-91 lead with under 50 seconds to play.
“We’ve played every game like a playoff game,” said Conley. “It’s been fun to be part of a group that comes in and stays focused and get back in the playoffs.”
Conley finished the day with 14 points while Mike Miller went 5-for-6 from beyond the arc and added 21 points off the bench for Memphis.
Phoenix misses out on the playoffs for the fourth straight year after an impressive turnaround under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek. The Suns (47-34) have won 22 more games than last season and still one more contest remaining. Markieff Morris led the team with 21 points as Phoenix becomes just the fifth team ever to win 47 games and miss the playoffs.
Memphis can become the seventh-seed in the West with a win over Dallas in their regular-season finale on Wednesday. A loss will put the Grizzlies as the eight seed and set up a first round matchup with San Antonio.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com