MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Mike Miller knew his game-ending shot was
on line. He just couldn't understand why the horn had sounded as he
caught the inbounds pass.
Miller scored 28 points, including the 22-foot game-winner with
time expiring, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs
94-92 on Monday night, ensuring the Phoenix Suns will finish with
the best record in the Western Conference.
The Suns, who played at home later Monday night against Denver,
will have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
Miller's final shot from the right wing carried more drama than
most buzzer-beaters because it technically didn't beat the buzzer.
The Grizzlies inbounded with 1.4 seconds left, but the ball
barely reached Miller before the horn sounded. Officials discussed
the matter at midcourt for about 5 minutes before referee Steve
Javie came to the scorer's table and ruled the basket good.
"I knew it had to count for time," Miller said. "The bottom
line is 1.4 seconds, if I can't get that shot off, I've got a
really slow trigger. ... Anytime you let one go, you've got to see
it go through the net before you think it is good."
Officials Javie, Phil Robinson and David Jones declined comment
after the game.
Memphis coach Mike Fratello said the clock started before Jason
Williams inbounded the ball, and the officials ruled Miller would
have gotten the ball off on the catch-and-shoot before the horn
sounded if not for the inadvertent clock start.
"It was a great decision by the officials," Fratello said.
"They're allowed to take as long as they need, and they did
"Well, that's what they called," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said of the ruling. "It's not going to change, is it? Then, it
doesn't matter what I think."
Memphis, which snapped a four-game losing streak with the
victory, had clinched the Western Conference's final playoff spot
when Minnesota was eliminated with its loss to Seattle on Sunday.
The Grizzlies will play the Suns in the first round.
"We wanted to win so people can stop saying we backed into the
playoffs," Memphis center Lorenzen Wright said. "We won the game,
and we deserve to be there. ... We won 40-something games earlier
in this season, and it was tough to win those games."
Miller scored Memphis' last nine points over the final 1:11 to
negate the Spurs' fourth-quarter comeback. His winning shot was set
up after Robert Horry missed a 3-pointer on the Spurs' previous
"It's only my fifth or sixth game, so I'm treating this like
camp," Robinson said. "I'm just waiting on the playoffs.
Hopefully, when that time comes, I'll be nice and comfortable."
San Antonio played without point guard Tony Parker, who sat out
the game with a stomach virus. Popovich hoped to limit playing time
for Duncan and Ginobili, but both starters played through the
fourth quarter as the game remained close.
Memphis took a 47-37 lead as the Spurs shuffled a carousel of
players in the first half.
Ginobili scored nine points in the third quarter, cutting
Memphis' lead to 65-61.
Parker had played and started all but one game this season.
He did not dress March 14 against New Orleans because of a left
quad contusion. ... Beno Udrih started in Parker's place and the
rookie from Slovenia had 12 points ... The Spurs beat Memphis 97-75
in San Antonio on Saturday. ... Duncan, in his third game since
returning from a right ankle injury, played 28 minutes, the most
since he came back. ... San Antonio hit all 18 free throws. ... The
Spurs lost three of four to Memphis this season, and have lost four
straight regular season road games to the Grizzlies. However, they
swept Memphis in the 2004 playoffs.