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Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press
Injured Memphis Grizzlies player Rudy Gay, left, stands with center Marc Gasol, center, of Spain, and guard O.J. Mayo, right, in the final minute of Game 7 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Oklahoma City won 105-90.

The Memphis Grizzlies see their amazing playoff run as a painful building block. They have good cause for optimism too.

Memphis went further than any other No. 8 seed in the Western Conference ever had — and the Grizzlies did it without Rudy Gay, their second-leading scorer.

Zach Randolph says expectations will be higher now the Grizzlies laid a foundation with seven playoff wins. Memphis knocked off the No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs and pushed Oklahoma City to seven games before falling short Sunday with a 105-90 loss in the semifinals.

The Grizzlies aren't making excuses for not reaching the West finals. But guard Tony Allen says Memphis will be a bigger threat with a healthy Gay.