PHOENIX, April 27 (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire
and Quentin Richardson
were not about to let the Memphis Grizzlies steal home-court
Stoudemire scored a playoff career-high 34 points and Richardson
came up with a huge defensive play and rebound in the final
minute as the Phoenix Suns posted a 108-103 victory over the
Grizzlies and took a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference
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After sinking 15 3-pointers and amassing 25 fast-break points in
the series opener, the top-seeded Suns were contained in both
of those categories and had to rally down the stretch to keep
the Grizzlies winless all-time in the postseason.
scored inside with 4:18 remaining, giving the
Grizzlies a 99-94 lead. However, Richardson answered 14 seconds
later with a 3-pointer to trigger a 14-4 surge that closed the
made consecutive jumpers to give the Suns the lead
and Stoudemire, the Suns' All-Star center, sank two free throws
with 2:04 left for a 103-99 advantage.
split two free throws with 1:46 left, pulling the
Grizzlies within 103-100. With a chance to get closer, Memphis
went to the 7-foot Gasol on the inside and the 6-6 Richardson
came over on the weak side and blocked his shot.
"He was going baseline a lot down the stretch so I tried to
smell it out," Richardson said. "I thought he was going to go
that way and he did."
"If we score there things might have been different but he came
out of nowhere," Gasol said. "I didn't see him coming. I could
have gone up a little stronger and dunked it."
On the Suns' ensuing possession, Marion threw up an airball but
Richardson grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 15 seconds
left. He split two free throws for a four-point lead.
answered with a 3-pointer - his only basket of the
game and Memphis' only hoop in the last 4:18 - before Steve Nash
made two free throws with nine seconds left. After Miller
missed a shot from the arc, Richardson sealed things with two
foul shots with five seconds to go.
Limited to just nine points in the series opener, Stoudemire
made 8-of-16 shots and went 18-of-22 at the free-throw line. He
attempted three more free throws than the entire Grizzlies'
"I had to attack," said Stoudemire, who grabbed 10 rebounds. "In
Game One, I tried to attack a little too much so I tried to mix
it up with some 'Js.' That pretty much opened up the court
there for a lot more. I was using my quickness. Using my pump
fake, there seemed like there was a little more space out there
and a little more room to operate."
Led by Stoudemire, the Suns went 31-of-40 at the line while the
Grizzlies went just 11-of-19.
"I didn't realize the 40-19 discrepancy at the free-throw line,"
Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello
said. "It is pretty tough when
the other team outscores you by 20 at the foul line. Some
people saw the game differently than I did."
Marion had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Nash handed out
15 assists for the Suns, who shot 46 percent (36-of-78) and held
a 49-45 rebounding advantage. Phoenix made just five
3-pointers and had just 15 fast-break points.
"I am tired of talking about this. Everyone is saying we can't
run, we can't play defense," Marion said. "We're up 2-0 now,
keep talking. We're up 2-0 now and we're showing what we can
Gasol had 28 points and 16 rebounds and Jason Williams
points for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-6 in the postseason.
Memphis stayed in the game behind its bench, which outscored the
Suns' reserves, 30-5.
"I was trying to be more aggressive, I know I have to play at
this kind of level," Gasol said. "The whole team needs me to
play with this kind of aggressiveness."
The Grizzlies host Games Three and Four on Friday and Sunday.
Stoudemire had consecutive baskets to start the third quarter,
giving the Suns their biggest lead, 64-54.
But Gasol, who drew the wrath of Fratello earlier in the
quarter, scored eight points in a 17-7 run that pulled the
Grizzlies into a tie at the 4:37 mark. Williams scored
the final five points of the burst with a driving layup and
Williams, who made his first six shots, scored a playoff
career-high 21 points but did all of his scoring in the first
and third quarters.
Nash made a pull-up jumper and Marion, playing with a sprained
right wrist he suffered in the series opener courtesy of a hard
foul by Shane Battier
, sank a free throw and jumper to close the
quarter and give the Suns an 82-77 lead.
added 20 points and Richardson 15 for the Suns, who
have a 2-0 series lead for the first time since the 1995
conference semifinals against Houston. Phoenix eventually lost
that series in seven games.
Sparked by Williams' hot start, the Grizzlies led by as many as
seven points in the first quarter. But the Suns got their
high-powered offense going in the second quarter and used a 19-8
burst over the final 4:51 of the half for a 60-54 lead.
added 13 points off the bench for the Grizzlies,
who shot 46 percent (43-of-94).