Zach Randolph has been wonderful all season, and he's finishing it the same way he started. With 28 points and 15 rebounds against the Spurs's top-notch interior defense, Z-Bo put the Grizzlies ahead after a monster second quarter that put them in the lead for good.
Of course Zach - the supposed bad attitude, team cancer - could take it easy with the Grizzlies out of the playoff race. He's a veteran with yet another year on his contract, but he's keeping up his All-Star production anyhow.
And the Spurs can't be happy about it. With just a handful of games left, they're now tied with the Portland Trailblazers for the 8th seed out West. That means they'd be playing the Los Angeles Lakers, and while I understand that the Spurs just hammered the Lakers about a week ago - I'm sure they'd rather see Denver or Dallas in the first round.
Randolph wasn't the only one making the big plays to drop the Spurs in the rankings, though. Mike Conley hit a runner right over Tim Duncan to put the Grizz up by 3 with about a minute to go. Then on the way back Conley made the right pass to Darrell Arthur, who pulled up confidently and splashed a jump from the top of the key to essentially seal the game.
Conley finished with 14 points and 9 assists and Darrell Arthur made up for Hasheem Thabeet's poor play by getting 13 in 31 minutes. O.J. Mayo also pitched in 21, and Rudy Gay had a fantastic all-around effort with 20 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. More nights like this and I wouldn't mind seeing Rudy on a max contract after this season.
This was a game to be proud of; even with nothing on the line, the Grizzlies stepped up and made a nice statement. All their players pitched in just what we've expected of them all season, and showed growth for next year - when hopefully the playoffs will still be in sight.