With the NBA season coming to a close, the games are now more important than ever. If you don’t believe it, take a look at two teams who had season altering implications, as they went head to head on Monday night. With the Memphis Grizzles’ 97-91 win over the Phoenix Suns, the Grizz have clinched the final spot in the West, and the Suns are shutting it down for the season.
This game meant so much to both teams that there were 15 total lead changes in the fourth quarter. However, it came down to Mike Conley and Zach Randolph making crucial plays in the last minute that would lead to the victory for the Grizzles.
Conley was able to hit a three with just over a minute to go, off an assist from Randolph. Big Z would then score after a Suns turnover, which would gave the four-point cushion that would eventually be the final score. Conley finished the game with 14, though none may have been bigger than that last three. As for Randolph, he lead the Grizzles with 32 points as Memphis was able to beat the Suns for the fourth time on the season.
Despite not making the playoffs, the Suns have to be a bit proud of their strong push this season. When things began, they were pegged to end up in the lottery, before having a strong push led by Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Channing Frye. Markieff and Marcus Morris also had big contributions this season, especially when the former put in 21 points on Monday night.
With still one more game left on the season for the Suns, they have accumulated 22 more wins than they did last season, and they can make it 23 with a win over the Sacramento Kings in the season finale on Wednesday. The end result makes Phoenix just the fifth team in NBA history to have at least 47-wins and not make the playoffs.
As for the Grizzles, they’ll play in another important game on Wednesday in their season finale. They will head to Dallas where the winner will get the seven-seed in the West, while the losers will finish with the eight-seed and play San Antonio. You can check back with sportspicks.com to get the odds to this game and the rest of the final games of the season on Wednesday night before the playoffs begin.
The Suns will look to the draft to hopefully pick up more power to add to their already surprising team. A good offseason and a second year under head coach Jeff Hornacek could be incredibly beneficial to their push next season.
The Grizzles currently sit at 85/1 favorites to win the NBA Championship this year. We have seen in past years that Zach Randolph is a huge playoff performer, which they’ll need if they want to advance this year. Their game on Wednesday will be incredibly important, especially if they want to avoid playing the Spurs in the first round, considering San Antonio is 4-0 against the Grizzles this year. On the other hand, Memphis is just 1-3 against the Thunder, who they will play if they can get the win over the Mavs on Wednesday.