MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 29 (Ticker) -- Luke Ridnour did not want the Seattle SuperSonics to wait another day to clinch a playoff berth.

Ridnour scored nine of his 15 points in the final four-plus minutes as the SuperSonics rallied to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies, 102-99, and clinch their first playoff berth in three years.

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The win was especially impressive considering the SuperSonics were without injured All-Star forward Rashard Lewis (bruised right foot) and big man Danny Fortson, who did not travel with the team after refusing to enter the game vs. New York on Friday.

"This is a big win for us, to come on the road and have guys down and find a way to win like that," Ridnour said. "It feels good to make sure we're in the playoffs. ... We have to keep it going now."

Jerome James added a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Ray Allen chipped in 22 despite shooting 8-of-20 for Seattle (49-21), the Northwest Division leader and the third Western Conference team to secure a postseason berth.

After missing a chance to secure a playoff berth vs. Washington on Sunday, Seattle trailed by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and 92-85 after a runner by Memphis' Earl Watson with 5:13 to play.

But Allen nailed a 3-pointer to trigger a 10-0 run, which ended when James split a pair of free throws for a 95-92 edge with 2:06 to play.

After the Grizzlies tied the game at 99-99 on a three-point play by Pau Gasol with 46 seconds left, James gave Seattle the lead when he split two free throws with 27 seconds to go.

"You saw tonight that there were matchup problems in the post," James said. "We knew they couldn't stop us on the inside and we just kept pounding it into the paint, and I was able to get to the line."

Seattle rookie Damien Wilkins, who scored 13 points, knocked the ball off Grizzlies forward Shane Battier and out of bounds seconds later. Ridnour calmly sank a pair of free throws for a 102-99 lead with 15 seconds remaining.

Memphis forward Mike Miller missed two open looks at a tying 3-pointer before time expired.

"Coach (Nate McMillan) told us to switch everything (on the Grizzlies' final possession) and get rebounds," Ridnour said. "We did everything but rebound. I mean, they had looks and got the rebounds, but thank the Lord they missed them."

Seattle went on an 18-7 run bridging the third and fourth periods, tying the game at 83-83 on a jumper by Ridnour with 9:17 remaining. Wilkins had a pair of 3-pointers in the run for the SuperSonics, who had trailed since the 8:48 mark in the first quarter.

"Damien has a big heart, and he's not afraid," McMillan said. "You know when you're 12th man on the bench, you just have to make things happen to get minutes. Tonight he made things happen, and it made a difference."

Memphis held Seattle to 32 percent (16-of-50) shooting in the first half while hitting 22 of its 37 shots to take a 50-44 lead into the break. In the second half, Seattle sank 20-of-29 shots, including 8-of-11 from the arc.

Allen scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half for Seattle, which shot 46 percent (36-of-79) and sank 10-of-20 from the arc.

"We just didn't get enough defensive stops to win this game," said Battier, who scored 16 points. "To win these close games you have to get some defensive boards, and we didn't get enough."

"They knew what to look for on every possession," Gasol said. "They played well down the stretch. I mean, we fought back and showed some character, but that's not enough. We just have to do what it takes to win games -- bottom line."

Gasol scored 24 points to pace the Grizzlies, who shot 55 percent (40-of-73) overall but made just 3-of-16 3-pointers.

The Grizzlies saw their lead over Denver for seventh place in the West slip to one-half game.

With the win, the SuperSonics improved to 26-11 against teams above .500 and to 25-9 on the road, the NBA's second-best road record.