Utah loss gives Lakers playoff spot
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Utah was held to its lowest point total of the season. Unfortunately for the Jazz, it happened in their last game in a chance to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
Now, the Jazz will sit at home and watch the postseason on television for the second time in the last three years.
Zach Randolph had 25 points and 19 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat Utah, 86-70, to eliminate the Jazz from playoff contention.
Utah's loss allowed the Los Angeles Lakers to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz needed a win over the Grizzlies plus a Lakers loss at home against Houston to make it into the postseason. Instead, it's the Lakers going into the playoffs minus perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant, who will need 6-to-9 months to recover from a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg.
The Grizzlies will go into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and will open on the road against the Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. It will be a rematch of last year's first-round series, won by the Clippers in seven games.
"They've been a pain in our butts, but we've just got to go out there and worry about us, play hard, value every possession, play in and out basketball and stick to the things that got us to this point," Memphis guard Tony Allen said of the Clippers.
Mike Conley added 14 points for Memphis (56-26), which set a franchise record for most victories in a season in what will be its third straight trip to the playoffs. The Grizzlies also set a franchise mark for the most home wins in a season of 32, eclipsing the record of 31 set by the 2003-04 team.
Al Jefferson totaled 22 points and 16 boards for Utah (43-39), which had won nine of its previous 11 games going into the season finale. The Jazz shot 32.1 percent from the field.
"We are disappointed, of course, because we lost the game and didn't get a chance to make the postseason," Jefferson said.
Randolph did the bulk of his damage in the third quarter, when the Grizzlies widened their lead. He had 12 points and seven boards in the period.
Memphis' defense did its part too, holding the Jazz to 4-of-18 shooting in the quarter. Utah was just 9-of-35 from the field in the second half.
The Grizzlies entered the third with a two-point edge, but quickly found the game tied at 40 following a pair of Jefferson free throws. It was 50-47 midway through the third, when the Grizzlies took control by using a 15-2 surge that went almost to the end of the quarter. Randolph scored nine during the run.
It was 65-51 going to the fourth and the Jazz never got within single digits.
The game was tied at 17 after the first quarter and the Grizzlies held a 40-38 edge at halftime.
The Grizzlies agreed to terms with veteran forward Donte Greene on a multi- year contract prior to the game ... Greene didn't play this season after spending much of the campaign recovering from a fractured ankle he sustained during an offseason workout in August ... The Grizzlies have won six of their last eight regular season home finales after having lost the first 10 in team history ... Memphis has won at home over the Jazz in six of the last seven meetings ... Darrell Arthur scored 11 for Memphis.
04/18 02:39:10 ET