Even with the playoffs out of the picture, the Memphis Grizzlies still have something positive to play for in their final few games of the season.
Trying to record their first winning season in four years, the Grizzlies look to build off their latest victory when they host the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
Though Memphis (40-39) made a strong push for the postseason in 2009-10, it will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. However, the Grizzlies need to win two of their final three contests to finish with a winning record for the first time since going 49-33 in their last playoff season of 2005-06.
That could be tough, however, as Memphis plays playoff-bound Denver and Oklahoma City on the road after concluding its home schedule against Philadelphia (26-53).
“Coaching staff deserves a winning record this year, so we just came out like we had an opportunity to play for the playoffs,” said Memphis guard O.J. Mayo(notes), who had 20 points on 8 of 15 shooting in Friday night’s 107-99 win at playoff-bound San Antonio.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Gay, who’s averaging 19.7 points this season. “Most teams don’t think we have much to play for. We do. Playing for our pride.”
Gay and Randolph helped the Grizzlies snap a five-game skid against the 76ers with a 102-97 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 20. The pair combined for 54 points and 21 rebounds as Memphis shot 51.9 percent in that contest.
Randolph is averaging 22.8 points and 13.2 boards in his last four contests, while Gay is putting up 20.2 points in six career games against the 76ers.
While Memphis has a chance to finish on a positive note, the end of the season likely can’t come soon enough for Philadelphia, which will miss the playoffs for the first time in three years.
The 76ers dropped their sixth straight, 95-90 at home to Milwaukee on Friday night. Andre Iguodala(notes) had 21 points for Philadelphia, which missed 11 of 20 free-throw attempts and never held a lead.
Despite the outcome, the 76ers managed to hold the playoff-bound Bucks to 41.6 percent shooting to keep the game close.
“You can see the guys want to be out there and compete and I think it’s a good thing that we are still fighting,” said Iguodala, who’s averaging 20.3 points in his last seven games.
Iguodala’s averaged 23.5 points in the 76ers’ last two visits to Memphis - both victories.
The 76ers, however, have lost two in a row and five of six on the road overall.