Grizzlies secure fifth seed in West with win over Clippers
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Jake Tsakalidis scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds, as Memphis clinched the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a 101-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lorenzen Wright scored 17 points off the bench for the Grizzlies, who will face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Bobby Jackson scored 15 points, while Shane Battier added 12 points and five assists.
James Singleton led all-scorers with 23 points for the Clippers, who finished as the sixth seed in the Western Conference, but will still have homecourt advantage against Denver in the first round. Elton Brand tallied 17 points and grabbed eight boards. Walter McCarty scored 12 points off the bench. Sam Cassell and Chris Kaman did not play for LA.
Trailing by 18 in the fourth quarter, LA was able to make a game off it. Capped by a Daniel Ewing three pointer, the Clippers rolled off a 15-3 run that brought them within six, 90-84, with 4:14 left to play.
Then, behind four straight free-throws from Ewing and Boniface N'Dong, LA got to within three, 96-93, with just 29.6 seconds remaining.
Mike Miller, though, answered with a trey to ice the game, giving Memphis a six point lead with just 11 seconds left in regulation.
Memphis outscored LA 18-15 after the first 12 minutes and then ran off a 10-0 run in the second quarter to take a 13 point lead, 30-17, with 7:19 left to play. Wright scored eight of his team's 10 points during the spurt.
Jackson then nailed a trey to close out the second quarter as Memphis took an 18-point lead into halftime, 51-33.
The lead ballooned to 21 in the third quarter, but the Clippers rolled off a 14-2 run to cut the deficit down to nine, 69-60, with 2:28 left to play. Brian Cardinal, however, nailed a three pointer with two seconds on the clock, and the Grizzlies took an 11 point lead into the final frame, 76-65.
Ewing finished with nine points and three assists for LA. N'Dong added six points...Miller and Cardinal each had eight points for Memphis...Both teams shot 50 percent from the floor...LA outrebounded Memphis 38-32.LAC MEM