Newsroom Notes: Suns Tame Grizzlies on Polish Heritage Night

By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: March 10, 2012

The Suns came into Saturday’s contest against the Grizzlies winners of six of their last eight and four straight at home. As hot as they were, the Grizzlies were even hotter, winners of five straight and nine out of their last 10.

But the Suns shined brighter Saturday, outlasting the third-best team in the West with a 98-91 home victory.

“I thought it was a well-rounded performance again,” Suns point guard Steve Nash said. “A lot of guys pitched in and the bench had a lot of great moments in the second half. We stuck with it and did really good on the boards.”

Memphis came into Saturday’s contest 12-1 against teams with records below .500, with its lone loss coming at the hands of Phoenix.However, the Suns made it two losses after outrebounding a Memphis squad that was the eighth-best rebounding team in the league, 52-35.

Suns swingman Jared Dudley led the offensive attack with 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while Nash posted 11 points and 15 assists. Marcin Gortat contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and the first basket of the game on Polish Heritage Night at the arena.

The Suns recorded their seventh double-digit comeback of the season and their fifth straight double-digit comeback at home, becoming the first team since 1998 to pull off such a feat. They did so by notching eight more second-chance points and 10 more points in the paint.

“That’s just our signature game plan,” Gortat said about rallying back. “We have an older team so I guess we just need some time to catch our rhythm.”

Rounding out the other Suns players in double figures were Grant Hill (14 points), Robin Lopez (11) and Channing Frye (10). The Suns moved to 4-0 against the West’s top teams at home.

The Hawk Flies Downtown Again

For the "Legend District" that spans from the D-Backs' Chase Field past the Suns' US Airways Center in Downtown Phoenix, fans were asked to determine which Suns legend would be the next player to be featured on a 42-foot tall graphic.

42 feet is the fitting height for the former Suns star that bore that very number and will be featured in the graphic. Hall of Famer and Suns Ring of Honor member Connie Hawkins was voted by fans as the next legend to represent the city.

Hawkins beat out Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers and Alvan Adams for the honor.

“That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,” Hawkins said smiling. “Maybe it should be a little bigger.”

Nah, 42 feet seems just about perfect.

Bring on the Pierogi

It was "Polish Heritage Night" at the Suns-Grizzlies game on Saturday night, which means subtle sounds of Europe reverberated around the corridors of US Airways Center. And by subtle sounds, I mean 500 crazed Polish fans screaming their lungs out for Suns center Marcin Gortat.

“Obviously I have to thank my Polish fans that came here to support me and my team,” Gortat said. “It’s so amazing how we’re so far away from home and we can still get together.”

Gortat, a native of Lodz, Poland, talked with the fans before and after the game at an informal meet-and-greet. Joining Gortat was Polish Olympian Anita Włodarczyk, former world-record holder in the hammer throw.

For the festivities, renowned Polish pro basketball team Assesco Prokom sent over their dance team to perform for fans here. The dancers also performed at the FIBA Euroleague Final Four.

Lastly, fans were also treated to a Gortat growth chart poster, so they could measure their height against the 6-11 center.

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