Suns Lose Shot at Playoffs with Loss to Grizzlies
This time it was the Suns who rallied from a large deficit. This time it was them with the home crowd fired up with a potential playoff win at stake.
Yet despite six Suns scoring in double figures and a furious defense that produced 12 steals, Phoenix fell short against the bruising Grizzlies, falling 97-91.
The defeat knocked the Suns out of the running for the final playoff spot in the West despite 47 wins with one game remaining. Phoenix has made the postseason nine times in its history with a worse winning percentage, but this year's Western Conference proved too deep. All but one of the eight playoff teams will finish with at least 50 wins, with the final one (Memphis or Dallas) guaranteed to win no less than 49.
Goran Dragic finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals despite battling a sprained ankle. Markieff Morris led the team in scoring with 21 points off the bench.
The Suns looked well positioned to keep their playoff hopes alive after a Miles Plumlee tip-in put them up 91-90 with 1:27 left.
Memphis responded behind buckets by Mike Conley (six of his 14 points in the final 1:48) and Zach Randolph (32 points, nine rebounds). The Grizzlies missed four of their six free throws, but Phoenix misfired on their final five shot attempts.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Markieff Morris seized control of the game in the early fourth quarter, alternating between his mid-range jumper and drives to the rim. The third-year forward finished with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go along with three blocks.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
22: the number of lead changes between two teams battling for one playoff spot in the final week of the season