Grizzlies defeat Suns; clinch playoff berth
With a 97-91 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday, the Grizzlies have secured a spot in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, eliminating the Suns in the process. Zach Randolph scored a season-high 32 points to lead Memphis to its fourth straight victory. Zach Randolph interview | Full Recap | Box Score
Key Stat of the Night
Tonight’s game was a back-and-forth affair that featured 22 lead changes.
- Zach Randolph scored a season-high 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting, surpassing his previous high of 28 points at L.A. Lakers on Nov. 15. Randolph last scored at least 32 points in a game on Dec. 4, 2012, with 38 points vs. the Suns.
- Mike Miller scored a season-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, surpassing his previous high of 19 points (three times, last vs. Philadelphia on Apr. 11) and his highest point total since scoring 21 on April 17, 2013, vs. Orlando while playing for the Heat.
Head Coach David Joerger
“They make runs; they can really score the ball. Jeff has done a great job with that team and that team has done a great job to fight and fight and fight. They put so much pressure on you. The biggest thing is we didn’t get way down. Every time we felt like we weren’t’ playing real well, we’d have a couple of hiccups or turnovers, and we turned the ball over way too many times, the most they got ahead was by three points. Obviously Mike Miller hits a huge shot after the momentum felt like it was going the other way. You know we sat there at the end of the third quartet and said ‘Man, it’s not going very well.’ Yea, but it’s tied! Tony Allen went end to end on a play we’ve worked on and that makes a difference and all of a sudden it’s a tie game and the heads come up and they supported each other the whole time. This is a culmination of not just this week or not just March or April, this is a culmination of everything we’ve been through since December. For these guys, it’s a happy locker room, a relived locker room and just a bunch of very proud guys with great chemistry.”
Grizzlies Forward Zach Randolph (32 points, 19 rebounds)
“It was real intense. The game went back and forth. They took the lead and we took the lead, but we just kept playing. We got some stops toward the end. Mike Conley and Mike Miller hit some shots in the second half, but we got stops when we needed to.” “Those two plays at the end were big for us. That three that Mike hit was big for us when I kicked it to him and the shot I hit, so it was a game and they fought hard. Nobody expected them to do what they did this season. Coach Hornacek did a great job and those young guys over there; you’ve got to take your hat off to them. They had a great season. Bledsoe, he’s a stud. Dragic and all the other guys are great young players. They’re a great team with a lot of talent and up and coming.”
Grizzlies Center Marc Gasol (18 points, 8 rebounds)
“The key was we didn’t have as many turnovers as we did in the first half. We did a better job defensively and even though they got some offensive rebounds and some lucky bounces where they got some free throws, we did a pretty good job. It was tough for them but we’ve been through a lot together. We’ve been through a lot of games and been through losing when we were younger when we had that one 20-something win season but after that we’ve always been a winning team. We have a good culture here.” “It was tied and we made a couple of plays and then Mike Conley was open because on the pick and roll they didn’t want to leave Zach down low or me at the pop so they gave Mike the shot and he made it. Then Mike was open again for the three and made it. We depend on our defense though. Defensively is where we’re going to win games.”