Published November 20, 2014
MEMPHIS (Reuters) - The Memphis Grizzlies clinched their first post-season berth since the 2005/06 season with a 101-96 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
The Kings trimmed the Grizzlies' 12-point lead in the fourth quarter to just one with 39 seconds remaining, but Zach Randolph made three of four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds to secure the NBA's final playoff spot for Memphis.
Sacramento had a shot blocked, then missed a potential game-tying three-pointer on two of their final possessions.
"I'm ecstatic," Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley told reporters. "For guys that have been here for the long ride, we've had a lot of ups and downs. We've had some guys go down. We've gone through a lot of adversity.
"For us to be in this situation at the end of the season, clinching a playoff spot is (exciting)."
Randolph finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds while Marc Gasol added 18 points to help Memphis (45-34) win for the fifth time in six games.
The Grizzlies are a game out of seventh spot in the Western Conference and have three regular-season games remaining.
They led from start to finish on Friday against the Kings. who lost their second in a row.
Marcus Thornton finished with 18 points and Samuel Dalembert recorded 17 points and 16 rebounds to lead Sacramento.
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, Editing by Peter Rutherford)