PHOENIX, Jan. 19 (Ticker) --
Memphis Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello's
game plan sent the Phoenix Suns into unfamiliar territory.
scored 16 points and Shane Battier
season-high 14 rebounds to help the surging Grizzles to a 88-79
victory over the suddenly struggling Suns.
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After winning 31 of their first 35 games, the Suns lost their
fifth straight contest and set season lows in points, points in
a half (41) and shooting (33 percent, 28-of-84).
"We came out and played an excellent defensive game tonight,"
Wells said. "The pressure we put on them was great and we
executed the exact way Coach Fratello told us to. We have been
shooting the ball extremely well these last 10, 11 games."
For the third straight game, Phoenix played without Steve Nash
the league's assist leader. The Suns entered the game averaging
108 points but have averaged just 86 since Nash was first
"We shot only 33 percent and I don't know if we can beat anyone
like that," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I don't know how we
can go from 48 percent shooting to 33 percent in one week.
Guys are taking shots they don't normally take and when we get
Steve back, it will help."
and Jason Williams
hit consecutive 3-pointers to
start a 14-7 run in the third quarter that give Memphis a 65-58
Battier helped put the game out of reach when he scored five
straight points to extend the margin to 81-70 with 4:41 left.
scored 14 points and Cardinal added 13 to help
Memphis to a 56-13 edge in bench scoring.
"We definitely wanted to make it an ugly game because we knew
that was the only way we were going to get a win," Cardinal
said. "We were able to grind it out and we were able to get
easy plays toward the end."
The Grizzles have won 10 of their last 11 games and are 17-7
since Fratello took over December 2.
"The nature of this league is that sometimes you happen to catch
a break where a team is missing a vital player," Fratello said.
"You can't lose an All-Star player like Steve Nash and expect
to play the same way. But still they fought. Our bench did an
scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and
had 18 and 12 for the Suns, who saw their 10-game
home winning streak end.
Phoenix failed to score 90 points for the third time this
season, all within the last four games.
, the league's fourth-leading scorer and the
first to reach 1,000 points this season, scored just eight to
match a season low.
"It was in and out tonight," Stoudemire said. "The shots I
normally take weren't falling. "It is not as easy to get the
open baskets because Steve is so great and penetrating. We were