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Grizzlies finish off Spurs; Memphis knocks off top seed in West

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Zach Randolph had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies advanced to their first Western Conference semifinals and made NBA history in knocking off the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, 99-91, on Friday night.

Memphis had been the franchise best known for empty seats and the unenviable NBA mark for playoff futility at 0-12 after being swept in its first three appearances. This time, a third straight sellout crowd cheered every bucket with a couple signs begging the Grizzlies to "Finish Them" in a town in desperate need of a hero.

The Grizzlies needed 10 seasons, but they have become just that as only the second No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 seed since the NBA expanded the opening series to a best-of-seven.

They will play Oklahoma City in the semifinals.

Marc Gasol had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis. Tony Allen added 11 points, and rookie Greivis Vasquez had 11 off the bench playing 24 minutes with Mike Conley in foul trouble most of the game.

Tony Parker led San Antonio with 23 points, Manu Ginobili had 16, Tim Duncan 12 and Antonio McDyess 10.

The Spurs led only twice at 2-0 and again at 80-79 when McDyess hit a 15-footer with 4:41 left.

That's when Randolph, the man cast off and unwanted when he arrived in Memphis in the summer of 2009, took over and scored 17 of the Grizzlies' 29 points in the fourth quarter.

He scored 10 of the next 14 for Memphis, with his hook putting Memphis ahead to stay at 81-80.


Mavs take a rest

DALLAS -- The verbal jabbing of Phil Jackson and the mind games with Ron Artest will begin soon enough.

First, Mark Cuban wanted a day to celebrate his Dallas Mavericks making it to the second round to face the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavs won a playoff series Thursday night for only the second time since reaching the 2006 NBA finals, and it wasn't easy. A colossal collapse at the end of Game 4 in Portland forced a return trip to the Rose Garden for Game 6, and Dallas almost let another big, late lead slip away. Only this time, Dirk Nowitzki found a way to stave off those pesky Trail Blazers, scoring 33 points in the 103-96 victory.

Cuban left the court Thursday night with a huge smile. He sent a tweet complimenting Portland fans for their courtesy and he declined to say anything about his team's next foe. In an email Friday, he declined to comment about anything Lakers-related.

The playful banter is sure to come. But Cuban's biggest statement about the Lakers came last summer, when the Mavericks re-signed center Brendan Haywood, then traded for another big man, the more-agile Tyson Chandler. They made it clear they were collecting all the size they could get to try matching up with Los Angeles.

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