Four ticks remained on the clock when the Memphis Grizzlies secured victory over the Sacramento Kings and locked up a spot in the NBA Western Conference playoffs. Four ticks remained on the clock when the Memphis Grizzlies secured victory over the Sacramento Kings and locked up a spot in the NBA Western Conference playoffs – the team’s first visit to post-season basketball since the 2005-06 season.
And this weekend, it all begins, with the eighth-seeded Grizz taking on top-seeded San Antonio.
Zach Randolph shoots the free throw to seal the deal and send the Grizzlies into the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)
Darrell Arthur’s dunk against the Hornets rattled the crowd.
He was on his knees center court for those final four seconds against the Kings at the FedExForum last Friday (April 8).
Zach Randolph was fouled and both of his free throws were good.
Directly after, Allen blocked a three-point shot attempt by Kings’ Tyreke Evans (former University of Memphis star) and that was the game.
After the game, Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal, saw in the Grizz’s journey the road that the Kings are trying to take.
“You stockpile players, mature together and pretty soon you start winning,” Westphal said.
“First of all, congratulations to (head coach) Lionel (Hollins) and the Grizzlies. They deserve to be a playoff team; they played great all year. It is not easy to make the playoffs in the West, so it is quite an accomplishment.”
Hollins spoke of the journey that brought the Grizzlies to this point.
“The journey is always the sweetest part of any achievement,” Hollins said. “You have to go through so much. There is so much adversity. There are so many trials and tests that you have to overcome in order to get here…. Our team stuck with it all year long.”
Randolph, the game’s leading scorer with 27 points and 15 rebounds, said making the playoffs is the result of a team working hard.
“Guys believe in each other and trust each other. It’s been a long journey, and the journey is just beginning for us.”
The emotional and highly energetic Tony Allen, who has deemed FedExForum the “grind house,” had praise for assistant Coach Henry Bibby as a “low-key motivator.”
“Coach Bibby always stayed in my ear telling me that I’m going to help get this team to the playoffs. But most importantly, he believed in me and kept me going.”
Allen also spoke of his teammates.
“Everybody is just gritting and grinding, just fighting together, and that’s what it’s all about. I love this group.”
Shane Battier thanked the fans.
“They’ve missed the playoffs as well for the past few years, so we shared that moment with them, winning on our home court. The fans were fantastic tonight, so I hope they enjoy this as much as we do.”