Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Sunday, November 14th
Grizzlies113Final
SuperSonics118
Game 2: Wednesday, November 24th
SuperSonics93Final
Grizzlies84
Game 3: Tuesday, March 29th
SuperSonics102Final
Grizzlies99

SuperSonics 102

(49-21, 25-9 away)

Grizzlies 99

(39-31, 22-13 home)

Coverage: FSS

7:00 PM ET, March 29, 2005

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

1 2 3 4 T
SEA 19 25 28 30102
MEM 21 29 28 2199

Top Performers

Seattle: J. James 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

Memphis: P. Gasol 24 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

Seattle rallies from 14-point deficit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- After a two-year absence, the Seattle SuperSonics are in the Western Conference playoffs again.

The Sonics clinched a playoff berth Tuesday night with a 102-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. They were led by Ray Allen and Jerome James with 22 points each, James' a career high.

"This is a big win to come on the road and have some guys down and find a way to win like that is pretty impressive for our team," said Seattle guard Luke Ridnour. "It feels good to make sure we're in the playoffs."

Ridnour keyed a fourth-quarter comeback for Seattle (49-21), which trailed by 14 earlier. His 3-pointer with 2:55 left completed the Sonics' rally for a 93-92 lead.

Memphis tied the game at 99 after Pau Gasol converted a 3-point play with :46.2 remaining. James, who was 9-of-11 from the field, made one free throw with 27.6 left. Ridnour's two free throws with 15.2 left gave the Sonics their final margin.

Mike Miller missed a pair of long 3-pointers in the final seconds as the Grizzlies lost their third straight and fourth out of their last five.

"They got good looks, but Lord willing, they didn't go in," Ridnour said.

Ridnour finished with 15 points for Seattle, while reserve Damien Wilkins added 13. Reggie Evans scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and kept Seattle in the game as the Sonics struggled in the first half.

The Sonics were without Rashard Lewis, their second-leading scorer, who sat out with a right foot injury, and reserve forward Danny Fortson, who is recovering from a left ankle sprain.

"We won a game that a lot of people didn't think we could win," said Seattle coach Nate McMillan, whose team leads the Northwest Division by 10½ games over Denver.

Gasol, in his best performance since returning March 20 from a foot injury, led Memphis with 24 points and eight rebounds. Bonzi Wells scored 17, and Shane Battier added 16 points. Stromile Swift and Earl Watson finished with 15 each for the Grizzlies.

While Seattle was celebrating its playoff-clinching win, Memphis was wondering how its current slide could affect its playoff hopes. The Grizzlies are currently in the seventh spot, but only a half game ahead of Denver and 2½ in front of Minnesota.

"It's frustrating to lose at any time," Gasol said. "At this point in the season, it's more frustrating because we're trying to move forward. It especially hurts to lose at home. We should protect our home court better."

The Sonics struggled from the field in the first half. Allen missed his first five shots before taking a seat with two fouls, and Seattle hit only 24 percent in the period. That gave Evans plenty of rebound opportunities and he grabbed nine in the first quarter, including six offensive boards.

The SuperSonics shot only 32 percent in the half as Memphis built the lead to as many as 13 before carrying a 50-44 edge at halftime.

"As poorly as we shot the ball at the half we were only down a few points," McMillan said.

The Grizzlies got a burst from Swift for the first time since he returned three games ago from an ankle injury. He had 13 points in the first half, missing only two of eight shots.

James was 5-of-6 from the field in the half for 11 points to lead Seattle.

James continued to score inside after the break, backing Gasol down for easy baskets.

"He tried to be as physical as he possibly could," James said of Gasol's defense, "but he gave up about two inches or so, and about 60 pounds."

Gasol had his own offensive rally in the third, scoring 11 points in the quarter, and along with Battier's 10 points in the period, Memphis led 78-72 entering the fourth. But the Grizzlies couldn't hang on as Seattle connected on 10-of-13 shots in the final period.

"They just made plays when they had to," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said of the Sonics' 30-point fourth quarter. "We had some critical turnovers and couldn't make the critical plays at the end."

Game notes


Ronald "Flip" Murray started in Lewis' spot and had four points. ... Grizzlies F James Posey missed his second game with a right hip contusion. ...Memphis C Lorenzen Wright drew a technical for arguing in the second quarter following his third foul. ... Evans got a technical, also for arguing his third foul. ...Evans had his sixth double-double of the season. ...The Grizzlies shot 55 percent for the game, despite going only 3-of-16 from 3-point range.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SEA
MEM
Points 102 99
FGM-FGA 36-79 (.456) 40-73 (.548)
3PM-3PA 10-20 (.500) 3-16 (.188)
FTM-FTA 20-29 (.690) 16-22 (.727)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-38 13-35
Assists 20 21
Turnovers 13 12
Steals 5 8
Blocks 3 8
Fast Break Points 6 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 28 (1/0)
Largest Lead 4 14

Top Performers

Seattle
Memphis
Jerome James James
Points: 22
Reb: 6
Ast: 1
Stl: 2
Blk: 2
Pau Gasol Gasol
Points: 24
Reb: 8
Ast: 1
Stl: 2
Blk: 0