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Grizzlies knock Jazz out of playoff hunt

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Zach Randolph had 25 points and 19 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies ended Utah's playoff hopes with an 86-70 victory over the Jazz on Wednesday.

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The Grizzlies' victory means the Los Angeles Lakers are assured of making the playoffs even before their late game against the Houston Rockets.

Meanwhile, Memphis, the Western Conference's fifth seed, still held out hopes for home-court advantage if the Los Angeles Clippers lost at Sacramento in another late game.

Mike Conley finished with 14 points for Memphis, which won its second straight and fifth in the past six. Darrell Arthur finished with 11 points for Memphis.

Al Jefferson scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Utah, the only Jazz player in double figures.

The Jazz managed only 32 percent shooting and were outrebounded 57-47.

Randolph ended the third quarter with 12 points and seven rebounds as Memphis built the advantage to 16 before carrying a 65-51 lead into the fourth.

The Grizzlies built the lead to 20 in the early part of the fourth.

Utah made one more push, cutting into the Memphis advantage with eight straight points, part of a 12-2 Jazz run. That reduced the Grizzlies lead to 75-65 with just under 5 minutes left, but the Jazz never got closer.

The start of the game seemed to lack the intensity of two teams with playoff implications.

About 10 minutes in, the Jazz were shooting 25 percent, while Memphis was at 37 percent. The Grizzlies' starting front-line opened the game missing 10 of 13 shots.

The shooting eventually got a tad better, but both were under 41 percent at the half as the Grizzlies carried a 40-38 lead into the break.

Jefferson was the only player in double figures with 10 points, while Randolph led the Grizzlies with eight points and eight rebounds.

The defense picked up a bit in the third, but the Jazz's shooting woes continued as Utah missed its first six shots, en route to hitting only 3 of 14, while Memphis built the lead to double digits.

Utah finished the third hitting 4 of 18 shots and committing four turnovers.

It was Randolph who took control for Memphis, working inside and grabbing rebounds. Conley was providing a nice supporting role, taking the ball to the rim.

NOTES: The home victory was Memphis' 32nd of the season, a franchise record. ... The Jazz had a team dinner Tuesday night at a local Memphis restaurant. ``It was a combination of the guys getting together, knowing and understanding that we're together, and want to stay together for a little while longer,'' in the postseason, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said before the game. ... The Grizzlies announced earlier in the day that they have signed Donte Green and Willie Greene. Both were inactive for the game. ... As sports teams have done across the country, there was a moment of silence before the game for the victims of Monday's bombings in Boston.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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