Suns overwhelmed by Grizzlies in fourth quarter

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Coming off back-to-back victories against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Phoenix Suns couldn’t stick this one out, dropping the game by a final score of 103-97.  The Suns looked in control throughout most of the game until the final quarter, where the Grizzlies outscored them by 11 points.  This was the final match-up between the two teams, ending the season with a split, 2-2.

P.J. Tucker came barreling out of the gate tonight to get the Suns off to a hot start.  Tucker found Tyson Chandler on an alley-oop for the game’s first points, and then went on the score the next six Suns’ points to get the game rolling.  Tucker has been much improved offensively as of late, which is a really good sign for the four-year NBA veteran.  Despite missing the last eight shots of the quarter, the Suns only trailed by three points heading into the second quarter.

The Phoenix bench unit took control in the second quarter and gave the Suns control of the game.  Ronnie Price hit back-to-back three pointers with Lance Stephenson right in his face right after the two had a little scuffle resulting in double technical fouls.  In three consecutive trips down the floor, John Jenkins, Jon Leuer, and Chase Budinger all hit three pointers to cap off an entertaining 18-2 burst for the Suns.  The bench mob were all at least +10 in the +/- category for the first half, which points to their solid play in the quarter.

The second half was an entirely different story, after that impressive second quarter.  Tyson Chandler was dealing with back spasms, and sat out for the entire second half, which took away the Suns’ size advantage over Memphis. The Grizzlies started to come alive, hitting jumpers and giving the Suns trouble with their chippy defense.  Phoenix was outscored by 17 points in the second half to let the Grizzlies back in the game and come away with the win.

Stephenson came on strong for the Grizzlies in the final quarter, scoring 12 of his 16 points in that time frame.  Zach Randolph was solid, as usual, for the Grizzlies, putting up a 14 point, 13 rebound double-double.  Newly-signed Jordan Farmar looked like he had been with the Grizzlies all season, scoring 12 points and really helped put the Suns away late in the fourth.

Phoenix was led by Devin Booker’s 18 point, four rebound performance.  Tucker ended the game with 15 points, four rebounds, four steals, and two impressive blocks.  Jon Leuer came on strong off the bench, picking up the double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Brandon Knight struggled shooting from the floor tonight (4-17, 23%) but came away with 13 points, and led the team in assists with seven.

The Suns get a day off before Kobe Bryant and the Lakers come to town Wednesday night.  This will be Bryant’s final game in Phoenix and I’m sure it will be a sell-out crowd.  Tip-off is set for 7:00 MST.

Charlie Erling

Long-standing Phoenix Suns fan, longer-standing burrito enthusiast.

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