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Grizzlies 86, Jazz 70

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- On the final day of the regular season Wednesday night, the Grizzlies did what they were supposed to do.

They slowly beat down the Utah Jazz 86-70 in FedExForum, and then hoped that Sacramento could beat the Clippers later Wednesday night in order for the Grizzlies to get homecourt advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs that start this week.

Boosted by forward Zach Randolph's 25 points and 19 rebounds -- he had 12 points in the third quarter when the Grizzlies grabbed control of the game -- the Grizzlies finished the regular season 56-26.

In doing so, the Grizzlies also set a single season record for most home victories with 32.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 20 early in the fourth quarter before the Jazz (43-39), battling with the Lakers for eighth and final playoff spot in the West, made one last desperate push in the game's final eight minutes.

Randolph's scoring help included point guard Mike Conley, who had 14 points, and a Memphis bench that outscored Utah's reserves, 33-18.

Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

The Grizzlies shot 35.1 percent from the field through the first 6:39 of the game. While Memphis had some good looks at the basket, a lot of their early offense came off offensive board hustle and turnovers.

The biggest concern was Randolph, who came up limping after turning his ankle landing on Paul Millsap's foot while grabbing a rebound. He stayed in the game and played through it until Ed Davis subbed for him with 4:30 left in the period.

The Grizzlies took a 40-38 halftime lead. The Grizzlies' bench started warming midway through the quarter, especially Keyon Dooling and Darrell Arthur, who had a couple of buckets each on 18 to 20 footers. Randolph got on a roll, scoring three straight baskets on a 15-foot fade, a follow and an inside power move.

Randolph's big third quarter helped the Grizzlies take command, 65-51, at the end of three quarters. Randolph, put on an offensive clinic, consistently beating the defense to inside post positions. He hit 4 of 8 shots, along with 4 of 5 free throws in the quarter.

NOTES: Heading into the game, Grizzlies point guard Conley liked that the final outcome would help determine some of the seeds in the West. "It feels a lot better to have something to constantly play for," Conley said. "This last game means something, so we're playing to win." ... Earlier Wednesday, Jefferson had the perfect plan if the Jazz had ended up winning. "We have to take care of our game and leave the rest up to the Rockets. Maybe I should get in touch with (Rockets' coach) Kevin McHale (who coached Jefferson at Minnesota) and see if he can take care of the Lakers for me."
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