Zach Randolph finished with 31 points and 11 boards as the Memphis Grizzlies advanced to their first NBA quarter-finals by eliminating the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs 99-91 on Friday.
“I felt that I could take over the game,” Randolph said. “I wanted to get the ball in my hands, get to the paint and take my shots.”
In victory, the Grizzlies became just the second eighth seed to upset a top seed since the NBA expanded the first round series to a best-of-seven.
Memphis knocked out the Spurs in six games and now face Oklahoma City in the next round.
“We are a good team,” Randolph said. “People don’t get to see us a lot, but we got young players who like to play and so we are a team to be reckoned with.”
It marked the first playoff series win in franchise history for the Grizzlies, who went 0-12 in their first three playoff appearances.
“This is a blue collar town I am a blue collar player, so this is a good fit for me,” Randolph said.
Marc Gasol finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen chipped in with 11 points and Greivis Vasquez had 11 off the bench in the win. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins hailed his unheralded side.
“Not a lot of people knew about us coming in, but we certainly have made some noise and turned some heads and got some attention that probably wouldn’t have been given to us if we’d lost this series,” Hollins said. “We’d just be another eight seed losing to the No. 1 seed.”
France’s Tony Parker had a team-high 23 points for the Spurs, who won 61 games in the regular season. Manu Ginobili scored 16, Tim Duncan 12 and Antonio McDyess 10.
“We played well all season long,” Parker said. “As you know, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t play well in the playoffs, and overall Memphis played better than us. We didn’t make the plays we needed to play.”
McDyess nailed a 15-footer with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter to give San Antonio an 80-79 lead. It was one of just two leads for the Spurs on the night.
Spurs veteran Tim Duncan finished off the second quarter with a dunk that cut Memphis’ halftime lead to 46-43. Duncan, who turns 35 on Monday, has won four NBA titles with San Antonio.
However, the Spurs had a half dozen turnovers in the opening quarter as the Grizzlies led 28-16 heading into the second.
Memphis also outscored the Spurs 30-15 in the third quarter.