NBA: Suns lose to Grizzlies, Eliminated from Playoff Contention
The Memphis Grizzlies clinched the 8th and final playoff spot on Monday night with their 97-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns, officially eliminating Phoenix from postseason contention.
The Suns (47-34) defied all odds this season. Coming into the year many experts predicted the Suns to win 15-20 games and finish dead last in the Western Conference. The Suns would have nothing of this nonsense and had quite possibly their best season since 2007-2008 when Steve Nash ran the offense.
There were 15 lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, but Memphis (49-32) scored the final seven points of the game. The Suns led with 1:27 left in the fourth, but Mike Conley nailed a three-pointer to give the Grizzlies a lead that they would not squander.
Zach Randolph had a season-high 32 points in the contest while he continuously dominated the paint. He had Channing Frye pick up two quick fouls in the first quarter and took Markieff Morris to town as well. Randolph was a force that could not be stopped. Mike Miller also scored a season-high 21 points in the game while going 5-6 from behind the three-point arch.
Morris led the Suns with 21 points, Frye scored 14, and Goran Dragic (ankle) scored 14 of his own while playing at “less than 50%” according to Coach Jeff Hornacek.
Although the Suns will not be fighting for an NBA Championship, the team can win some hardware this offseason. Hornacek is in line to win the Coach of the Year award and Dragic has a great shot to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Dragic scored 14.7ppg, had 7.4apg, and shot 44.3% from the field and 31.9% from behind the arch last season while scoring 20.3ppg, had 5.9apg, and shot 50.5% from the field and 40.8% from behind the arch this season. Morris led all reserves in scoring per game this season with 13.8ppg, while also grabbing 6.0rpg.
The Suns will conclude their magical 2013-2014 season on Wednesday when they will take on the Sacramento Kings.
Cheers to a great Phoenix Suns season and cheers to an even better season next year!