Memphis Grizzlies use furious finish to eliminate Kings

May 13, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson (1) shoots against Sacramento Kings center Damian Jones (15) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Anderson ignited a 12-0 finish with a pair of hoops, including a 3-pointer, and Jonas Valanciunas converted a three-point play to give Memphis the lead for good with 1:23 remaining as the Grizzlies formally eliminated the visiting Sacramento Kings from playoff contention with a 116-110 victory on Thursday night.

Dillon Brooks scored a team-high 30 points, the seventh 30-point game of his career, and Valanciunas recorded a double-double with 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies (37-33), who assured that their position in the NBA play-in tournament — either eighth or ninth — will be determined in the season finale Sunday at Golden State.

The Kings, a play-in longshot whose hopes were kept alive when the San Antonio Spurs were beaten by the New York Knicks earlier Thursday, came up short despite a career-best 31 points from Justin James.

Neither team led by more than eight points and the Grizzlies retained a 91-86 advantage after Brandon Clarke’s dunk with 10:46 to play.

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James and Terence Davis got the visitors within one before Davis buried consecutive 3-pointers and Chimezie Metu added a third to complete the 13-point flurry that produced a 99-91 lead with 8:10 to play.

Sacramento retained a 110-104 advantage after Buddy Hield’s jumper with 3:08 remaining, but the Kings — playing without De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes — never scored again.

Valanciunas’ three-point play gave Memphis a 112-110 lead, after which Brooks’ hoop and two free throws by Desmond Bane clinched the Grizzlies’ fourth straight win.

Anderson finished with 14 points and a game-high nine assists for Memphis, while Clarke, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant chipped in with 12 points apiece.

James’ game-high 31 points were 15 more than he had ever scored in an NBA game. His previous career high of 16 came last month against Utah.

Metu also recorded a career high with 17 points for the Kings, who had won two straight and six of seven in their battle to stay alive in the West.

Davis and Hield totaled 16 points apiece, while Delon Wright complemented 15 points with a team-high eight assists.

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–Field Level Media