Season-high scoring by Zach Randolph and Mike Miller helped the Memphis Grizzlies clinch the final Western Conference play-off berth as they eliminated the Phoenix Suns from post-season play, 97-91, on Monday.
On top of Randolph’s 32 points and Miller’s 21, Spaniard Marc Gasol netted 17 and Mike Conley added 13 for the Grizzlies, who are back in the play-offs for the fourth straight season.
Trailing 91-90 on Mason Plumlee’s tip-in of Eric Bledsoe’s missed layup, the Grizzlies ran off the game’s final six points.
Conley buried a 3-pointer to put Memphis ahead for good, 93-91, with 1:08 remaining. The Suns’ Goran Dragic then got caught in the air and had his ill-advised pass picked off by Randolph for a transition layup with 47 ticks left.
The eighth-seeds are likely to have a first-round date this weekend with top seed and defending Western Conference champion San Antonio.
Elsewhere, Treva Ariza scored 25 points and the play-off-bound Washington Wizards used a 43-point second quarter blitz to secure a 114-93 bashing of the visiting Miami Heat, who rested All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Miami’s loss allowed idle Indiana to clinch the East top play-off seed, while the two-time defending champions will be the No.2 when the post-season begins this weekend.
Chandler Parsons scored 21 points and Dwight Howard had 20 with 17 rebounds as the Houston Rockets beat the visiting San Antonio Spurs, 105-98, to lock up the West fourth play-off seed and home court advantage against Portland in this weekend’s first round.
Italy’s Marco Belinelli had 17 points for the West top play-off seed Spurs, who were swept away in the four-game season series.
Stephen Curry collected 32 points with 15 assists, and the Golden State Warriors rallied from 19 down in the opening half for a 130-120 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves to clinch the West sixth play-off seed, despite Kevin Love’s 40-point effort.
Hours earlier, the Warriors received a blow to their play-off hopes after learning centre Andrew Bogut will be lost indefinitely with a fractured right rib.
The visiting Charlotte Bobcats clipped the Atlanta Hawks 95-93 in a showdown of East play-off clubs while the play-off-bound Chicago Bulls beat the visiting Orlando Magic 108-95.