Suns Win Back-to-Back Road Game for First Time in a Year, Beat Grizzlies 109-100
After winning on the road against the Magic on Friday, the Suns traveled to Memphis for a rematch of last week’s game against the Grizzlies. Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies called this a revenge game after the Suns beat them last week. The Grizzlies weren’t able to get their revenge, and the Suns pulled out another road win, with a final score of 109-100.
The Grizzlies were able to jump out to a lead early against the Suns, but the Suns looked confident throughout the first quarter. Tyson Chandler scored the first two baskets for the Suns, and even though he missed his first attempt, Alex Len wasn’t afraid to keep taking his shots. Len hit his next two jump shots, but was quiet for the rest of the quarter. The Suns had a balanced first quarter, and were able to keep the game tied up with the Grizzlies with a score of 24-24 at the end of the first. One Sun who looked fired up in the first quarter was Devin Booker. He scored eight points, and forced Lance Stephenson to take contested shots close to the basket.
Mirza Teletovic hit back-to-back three pointers in the second quarter, and Jon Leuer hit a couple free throws and a jump shot to help give the Suns a seven point lead with seven and a half minutes left in the second quarter. Mario Chalmers single handedly removed the Suns’ lead within a minute of game time. Len continued his aggressive play, getting to the line a couple times in the second. At one point he was a able to rebound his own miss, and score while getting to the line once again. This game continued it’s chippiness, and the teams were beating each other up. Booker hit a deep three to answer a Mike Conley shot from deep as the second quarter wound down, but Conley answered back. The Suns were down 59-53 at halftime, with Booker leading the Suns in points with 14. Len added in a double-double at the half, with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Suns were able to force the Grizzlies to go 0-5 from the field in the third quarter, which let the Suns get a little momentum and take back the lead. Len continued his hot play, getting two more free throw attempts and showing off some nice moves in the post. He hit a contested bank shot against Ryan Hollins, and put a spin move on Randolph. Len showed off his passing as well, hitting Ronnie Price in the corner for an open three, and getting the ball to Booker on the fast break after coming up with a steal. The Suns went on a 13-0 run, and were able to take a 10 point lead. The Suns kept up the intensity, and instead of giving up on a fast break in the third, Booker got a chase down block against Matt Barnes, which turned into an alley-oop dunk from Chandler on the other end. The Suns were up by as many 13 at one point in the third, and outscored the Grizzlies 32-15 in the third quarter. They took an 11 point lead into the fourth quarter, with a score of 85-74.
The Suns started out the fourth quarter shooting threes. Booker, Teletovic, and Archie Goodwin all hit threes as the fourth quarter progressed. Teletovic kept working for points, and while the Suns weren’t hitting a lot of shots, neither were the Grizzlies, for most of the quarter. The Grizzlies were able to get within six points of the Suns, but the Suns didn’t crumble. The Suns finished the game with the win, and a final score of 109-100. The Suns shot 37-71(52.1%) from the field, with 12-28(42.9%) from behind the arc, and 23-30(76.7%) from the free throw line. The Suns out-rebounded the Grizzlies for the second time in a row 47-38. Questionable calls didn’t doom the Suns, and they refused to give up. The Suns will get a short break, and then return home to take on the Knicks on Wednesday.
Devin Booker scored a game high 27 points, shooting 8-17 from the field, with 4-11 from the three point shot, and 7-7 from the free throw line. He added in nine assists, one steal, and an awesome chase down block on Barnes. With scratches on his arm and the Grizzlies throwing two guys at him, nothing stopped Booker from being aggressive. Totals of 13, 34, 14, and 27 on this road trip in March, and his consistency is only going to get better.
Alex Len had another monster game. Scoring 19 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, Len added another double-double to his season total. He only needed the first half for his double-double, but he used the entire game to dish out six assists, grab a steal, and record two blocks. We touched on consistency when talking about Booker, and Len himself has been quite consistent himself recently. Booker and Len are working together and finding each other on the offensive end of the floor. Their continued development as well as getting a couple of wins in the last two weeks has been a bright spot for this season.
Shout out to the referees. They let the guys play out there for most of the game, but then started calling ticky tack calls in favor of the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter. Chalmers was flopping everywhere, and Barnes hit Booker with an elbow, which Booker got a technical foul for. Bad calls, but the Suns hung on to the win, so at least it didn’t cost them the game.