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Win sends Grizz home for playoffs

Win sends Grizz home for playoffs

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 7:00 pm

MEMPHIS (AP) — Marc Gasol scored 22 points, Rudy Gay added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies claimed the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with an 88-76 win over the short-handed Orlando Magic on Thursday night.
O.J. Mayo had 15 points and Zach Randolph, returning to the starting lineup, finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis, which won its sixth straight and 11th in 13 games.
The Grizzlies also have won a franchise-best 11 straight home games and will open the playoffs at home Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who dropped to the fifth seed with the Memphis victory.
Hedo Turkoglu, playing for the first time in 10 games because of a facial fracture, led the Magic with 18 points, hitting 7 of 13 shots. Justin Harper scored 16 points and Von Wafer added 11.
The Magic rested all their starters after earning the No. 6 seed in the East.
The fourth seed marked the highest season finish in Memphis franchise history, and the first time the Grizzlies have held homecourt advantage in the opening round.
The Grizzlies made sure early that they were staying home for the first two games of the playoffs. Memphis scored the first eight points of the game, had a 27-9 lead after one and built the advantage to as many as 24 before carrying a 54-30 lead into the break.
Gay was 6-of-8 from the field, his only two misses coming from outside the arc, for 15 points, while Gasol had 12 points.
No Orlando player was in double figures, Harper leading the Magic with nine points.
The Magic were limited to 35 percent shooting while committing 10 turnovers, leading to 17 Memphis points. That shooting percentage included missing 11-of-13 from 3-point range.
Memphis wasn’t much better at 2-for-9 from long range, but the Grizzlies controlled the boards 27-13. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Magic 45-34 overall.
Memphis tried to coast home too early. Orlando opened the second half with a 21-4 run, knocking the lead down to 58-51 after Turkoglu connected on a 3-pointer, giving him eight early points in the third quarter.
That was close enough to remind Memphis it was playing for homecourt advantage. The Grizzlies answered by closing the period with a 9-3 run and carried a 67-54 lead into the final quarter.
Memphis held a double-digit lead throughout the fourth, and by the time the reserves hit the floor with about 3 minutes left, the Grizzlies faithful were on their feet in preparation for the opening round, chanting “Beat L.A.”
Notes: Randolph’s start was his first since March 24. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said he wanted to get Randolph into the flow of starting, but would not commit that the plan would continue into the playoffs. … Turkoglu, playing for the first time after missing 10 games with a facial fracture, played with a plastic mask. … Memphis G Mike Conley had a steal, pulling him even with Shane Battier for second place on the franchise list with 523. … The Grizzlies are 17-1 when leading after the first quarter at home.

Published in The Messenger 4.27.12

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