Marion, Barbosa Lead Suns Over Grizzlies
Phoenix 108, Memphis 102
PHOENIX, Feb. 8 (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns refused to let a sluggish finish overshadow a terrific start.
Leandro Barbosa scored a season-high 24 points off the bench and Shawn Marion added 21 and 16 rebounds to lead the Suns to a 108-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Man, it was a rough finish, but we came out and pulled out the win in the end," Marion said. "It's a tight race with us and the Clippers right now and we're just trying to get better each game."
Barbosa scored 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Marion added 11 for the Suns in a 42-point second quarter that built a 64-46 lead at the break.
"We, the bench, did a great job defensively and offensively, we helped," Barbosa said. "I always try to go hard to the basket and be aggressive and it worked tonight."
"In the first quarter, they were hitting shots," Marion said. "Sometimes, you can't play any better defense then we did. They were hitting shots with hands in their faces. In the second quarter, we opened up a little more and got a rhythm going."
Eddie Jones tried to bring back Memphis with 11 points in the third quarter, including three straight 3-pointers. However, Barbosa nailed another 3-pointer with 1:10 to go in the period to give the Suns an 87-73 edge.
"It's hard to play them when they're shooting the ball with that confidence," Memphis forward Pau Gasol said. "They did a good job running the ball and running 1,000 pick-and-rolls and they made their shots."
Phoenix missed 12 straight shots in the fourth quarter until Barbosa made a driving layup with 1:17 remaining for a 105-96 edge. The Suns made just 3-of-17 shots overall in the final 12 minutes.
"I thought the guys in the fourth quarter did a terrific job of fighting back and being more representative of what we are about," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "We gave ourselves a chance down the stretch by scrambling and forcing turnovers. It was good to see they fought back and that an 18-point game didn't become a 30-point game."
Antonio Burks, who made four straight baskets down the stretch for the Grizzlies, hit a jumper with 1:06 remaining and a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left, cutting the deficit to 105-101. However, Steve Nash made 3-of-4 free throws in the final moments to seal the win.
"When you are playing a team like that, it is tough to come back," Grizzlies guard Bobby Jackson said. "You got to have enough legs to win the game. Burks and (forward Hakim) Warrick came in and played great but it wasn't quite enough."
Boris Diaw scored 18 points, James Jones had 16 and Nash 14 and 10 assists for the Suns, who beat the Grizzlies for the first time in three meetings this season.
"We made shots this time," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The last time against Memphis, we lost by four points and shot 37 percent. Tonight, we shot 47 percent and we win. We played the same way and had the same shots. The second quarter, we just went crazy. Then in the fourth quarter, we just hung on."
Jackson scored 17 points, Eddie Jones added 16 and Gasol 15 for the Grizzlies, who have dropped five straight on the road and 11 of their last 14 overall.
Grizzlies forward Mike Miller left the game late in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left ankle and did not return. He was seen wearing an air cast when he left the arena.