NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)
Dallas Mavericks (49-32) at Memphis Grizzlies (49-32), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The winner is the seventh seed, the loser the eighth.
That is what's at stake in the Western Conference Wednesday night when the Memphis Grizzlies host the Dallas Mavericks at FedExForum.
Wednesday's winner will play either the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers, depending on the outcome of two games. Wednesday's loser draws the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs.
The Grizzlies became the last team to clinch a postseason berth on Monday when they knocked off the Phoenix Suns, 97-91, at US Airways Center.
"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," said Memphis coach David Joerger. "For these guys, it's a happy locker room, a relived locker room and just a bunch of very proud guys with great chemistry."
Memphis made it to the Western Conference Finals one year ago, but a knee injury to center Marc Gasol provided adversity through this season.
It took a gutsy win against the feisty Suns to secure a berth.
Zach Randolph and Mike Miller both netted season highs with 32 and 21 points.
With the Grizzlies holding a one-point lead with just over two minutes to play, Eric Bledsoe and Mike Conley traded pull-up jumpers, Miles Plumlee tipped in Bledsoe's missed layup and Conley hit a 3-pointer to put Memphis in front, 93-91, with 1:08 remaining. Goran Dragic then got caught in the air on the game's decisive possession and threw the ball away, leading to Randolph's transition layup. Until then, the entire fourth quarter was played as a one- possession game.
There were 22 lead changes overall, with 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Gasol finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Conley scored 14 with seven assists in the Grizzlies' fourth straight win.
The Grizzlies will take a 13-game home winning streak into Wednesday's pivotal contest. Memphis hasn't lost on Beale Street since Feb. 5 and the opponent that night? The Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs punched their postseason ticket on Saturday with a home win over the Suns, 101-98.
Monta Ellis, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, had 37 points, Dirk Nowitzki netted 21 of his 23 in the second half to lead the Mavericks.
"We set a goal for the beginning of the season, we had our ups and we had our downs, but tonight we came together as a team, everyone really wanted to get this win," Ellis said.
The game went back and forth as Phoenix built a 13-point lead in the second half. Dallas responded and was eight clear with 2:25 remaining, but it went down to the wire.
There were several missed shots and when Dallas' Brandan Wright helped secure the victory with a big block of Eric Bledsoe. The Suns still had a chance, but Markieff Morris missed a desperation 3-pointer.
The Mavericks have won all three meetings this season with the Grizzlies, although they are 1-5 in their last six in Memphis.
04/16 10:34:55 ET