MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies had every reason to ease up in the regular season finale after pushing hard the past three months to reach the postseason.
Instead, they kept grinding and grabbed the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
Mike Conley hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds left in overtime, and the Memphis Grizzlies moved up from the eighth seed by edging the Dallas Mavericks 106-105 on Wednesday night.
"We've been holding on very tight for a long time ...," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "Getting 50 wins is something you want on your resume as a player, and people remember those. Those are special seasons. It's a standard, a golden standard I think."
Memphis became the seventh team in the West with 50 wins this season with the victory. The Grizzlies, who set a franchise record with a 14th straight home win in a single season, will open the postseason Saturday night at Oklahoma City. They beat the Thunder in the semifinals last year with Russell Westbrook out.
"Playing Grizzlies' basketball going into the postseason was key, and we wanted to try to keep that momentum going," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said.
Monta Ellis missed a 17-footer before Conley drew the foul driving to the basket. Dallas had one last shot, but Ellis missed from the top of the key.
"It felt good, but it didn't go down," Ellis said. "I think we did a great job. We competed. It went down to the wire, and they won."
Conley was face guarding his player when he noticed Ellis got his shot off before the buzzer.
"I was like, 'How'd he get that open?'" Conley said. "When I saw it hit the rim, I was like 'Thank you, God.' That would have been a tough one to lose."
Avoiding No. 1 seed San Antonio in the first round was the only thing on the line, and Memphis has lost 14 of its last 16 against the Spurs with the Mavericks losing nine straight.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks will be fine with starting in San Antonio on Sunday giving Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis time to rest. Nowitzki banged his right knee late in the first half and played the second half with a sleeve protecting his leg.
"Tonight is a good indication of the fight we have in us, and we're going to take that fight to San Antonio," Carlisle said.
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