Suns Beat the Grizzlies in the Paint, Final Score 111-106
After a tough game against the Nets on Thursday, the Suns looked to get a win at home against the short handed Memphis Grizzlies. With Marc Gasol out for the rest of the season, and Tony Allen out with a sore right knee, it was the perfect storm for a Suns win. The Suns won with a final score of 111-106, and the Suns will look to take their success from this game into Charlotte on Tuesday night.
The Suns started out strong, exploiting the absence of Gasol down low with a strong two handed jam by Alex Len. The Suns forced the Grizzlies to match them shot for shot, and the offensive intensity started to pay dividends. They pushed out to a five point lead thanks to a three pointer from Devin Booker. The Suns were able to hold on to the lead through most of the half, and came up with big shots when the Grizzlies were close to tying the game back up. Mirza Teletovic did what he does best with a three pointer with a minute and a half left in the first, and Booker nailed another three the end the first. Memphis went on a run to start the second quarter, and were able to take a short 32-31 lead, but Archie Goodwin was able to kick-start the Suns offense, scoring a quick four points to give the Suns a three point lead. Jon Leuer scored eight points in a row for the Suns, with six points coming from behind the arc. The Suns pushed out to an eight point lead, and they were able to take that lead into halftime with a score of 54-46.
The third quarter saw Ronnie Price, Len, and P.J. Tucker carry the load on offense. There was a stretch where Tucker was on fire, grabbing rebounds, pushing the ball up the court, and scoring from deep and through contact. Len showed his finesse in the paint, and drew fouls when he couldn’t get a clean shot up. And Price was hitting catch and shoot threes and playing strong defense. These three guys helped the Suns push out to a ten point lead, and the Suns were able to take a 86-76 lead into the final quarter of regulation.
The Grizzlies came out of the gate in the fourth with intensity. They looked to try and deflate the Suns by slowing down the game and play their patented grit and grind defense. As most of the second half went, it looked like the Suns were going to give up a run, only to turn around and hit a clutch shot late in the shot clock. The Suns wanted to beat the Griz at their own game, grabbing offensive rebounds and letting the shot clock run down as low as they felt comfortable. The Suns’ defense was up for the challenge, and they were able to pull out the win with a score of 111-106. The Suns shot 37-80(46.2%) from the field, with 12-32(37.5%) from behind the arc, and 25-35(71.4%) from the free throw line. They out rebounded Memphis 56-33, with 16 of those rebounds for the Suns coming off of the offensive glass.
Alex Len started the game out decently, scoring five points and grabbing four boards in the first half, but his game came alive in the second half. He finished the game with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Len shot 7-11 from the field and hit 8 of his 12 attempts from the free throw line. Len also added a steal and two blocks.
P.J. Tucker had his own night with a full stat sheet. He scored 17 points, totalled 11 rebounds, and added in seven assists. He played his normal hard nosed defense, and his energy helped fuel the Suns.