MEM@PHX: Postgame press conference 3.30.19
MEM@PHX: playlist 3.30.19
Postgame Report: Grizzlies Complete Biggest Comeback of the Season to Sink Suns, 120-115
The Memphis Grizzlies recovered from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 120-115, on Saturday night in Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Grizzlies’ previous largest comeback was 16 points and came on March 5 when, just like tonight, they came back from an early second-quarter deficit against the Trail Blazers to win 120-111. Memphis improved to 31-45 on the season and 11-26 on the road. Phoenix dropped to to 17-60 on the year and are now 10-28 on the road. The Grizzlies won the season series 2-1, and snapped a three-game losing streak in Phoenix.
Memphis attacked the offensive boards, outrebounding Phoenix 15-7 on the offensive glass which led to a 25-10 advantage in second chance points.
Jonas Valanciunas logged his sixth-straight double-double, finishing with a career-high 34 points and 20 rebounds (11 offensive), and tying a team-high five assists. Valanciunas’ previous career-best scoring performance occurred 10 days ago, when he had 33 points vs. Houston. Valanciunas becomes the fourth player in franchise history to record 30+ points and 20+ rebounds in a game, joining Zach Randolph (three times), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (once) and Lorenzen Wright (once). Valanciunas also becomes the first NBA player to post 30+ points, 20+ total rebounds, 10+ offensive rebounds and 5+ assists in a game since current teammate Joakim Noah did it for the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 7, 2012.
Mike Conley finished with 33 points and five assists. Conley now has nine-straight games with at least 20 points, marking the longest streak in the team’s tenure in Memphis, and the longest in franchise history since Abdur-Rahim had 10 consecutive 20-point performances for Vancouver in February 1999. Conley also now has nine 30-points games this season. Justin Holiday scored 14 points and had a pair of steals. Bruno Caboclo chipped in with 12 points and six boards. Caboclo has now scored in double-digits in three consecutive games. Tyler Dorsey added 11 points and five assists. Dorsey has reached double figures in three of his last five games. All five starters scored in double-digits tonight, while Delon Wright added 11 points and a career-high five steals off the bench. Wright previously had recorded four steals in a game on five different occasions in his career prior to tonight.
Phoenix outshot Memphis in the game, going 43-for-81 (12-28 3P) from the floor while the Grizzlies finished 41-for-89 (8-25 3P). The Grizzlies defense forced the Suns into 20 turnovers, converting them into 24 points, while committing 11 turnovers of their own which led to 10 Phoenix points. The Grizzlies worked their way inside, outscoring the Suns 58-50 in the paint and earning trips to the free throw line, sinking 30-of-40 (.750) free throws throughout the game.
Devin Booker led all scorers with 48 points, with half of them coming in the first quarter, and dished out a game-high 11 assists. Booker entered tonight having scored at least 50 points in his last two games, and now has 11 double-doubles this season. Deandre Ayton recorded his 39th double-double of the year, finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie Mikal Bridges added 10 points and four rebounds, while reserve Josh Jackson also scored 10 points.
Wright hit a three with 8:06 left in the game – his only one of the night – to put Memphis up 98-95, giving the Grizzlies their first lead since the 6:52 mark of the first quarter. With just under four minutes left, Conley connected on a three at the top of the key to put the Grizzlies up 109-106. That trey was part of an 8-2 run to help put Memphis up 114-107. Phoenix would hit three triples in the last 1:03 to stay within arm’s reach, but Valanciunas imposed his will throughout the quarter, scoring 14 points and pulling in six rebounds (three offensive) to preserve the Grizzlies’ win.
Memphis improved coming out of halftime, shooting 14-for-26 (.538) from the floor in the third quarter, but Phoenix was more efficient by making 11-of-16 (.688) shots. The Grizzlies muscled up on the boards, owning a 4-1 edge in offensive rebounds to outscore the Suns 12-1 in second chance points in the third to narrow Phoenix’s lead to 92-88 heading into the fourth quarter.
Phoenix made over half their shots in the first half, going 24-for-45 (6-15 3P) from the field. Memphis struggled in the half, shooting 17-for-44 (.386) overall and just 3-of-12 (.250) from three. The Suns committed twice as many turnovers as the Grizzlies during the half (8-4), but also had more than twice as many assists (15-7). Booker scored 28 points in the half (24 in the first quarter) and Ayton already reached his double-double for Phoenix, while Conley had 14 in the half to lead Memphis.
Memphis had a sluggish start to the game, shooting just 8-for-24 (2-7 3P) from the field while Phoenix was 14-for-23 (4-9 3P). Booker in particular was rolling, as he scored 24 in the first quarter by making 9-of-11 (2-3 3P) shots. Booker’s 24 points were the most in any quarter in a Grizzlies game this year. Phoenix went on a 13-2 run over a 3:58 span late in the period to build a 38-23 lead.
Trailing by 18 early in the second quarter, the Grizzlies used a 13-4 run to trim the Suns’ lead to single-digits, 50-41, with 5:22 left before halftime. The Grizzlies defense forced seven turnovers during the second quarter, scoring nine points off of the Suns giveaways. A quick Valanciunas steal led to Wright layup in the last two seconds of the quarter that was later called off, but Memphis made 12-of-14 (.857) free throws in the period to cut the deficit to 62-54 at halftime.
The Grizzlies will wrap up the back-to-back when they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, March 31 at 9:30 p.m. CT at Staples Center. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN to follow the action
On the Grizzlies’ defense:We decided to defend a little bit. We had two quarters where we held them in the mid-twenties, in the fourth quarter we held them to twenty-three points. And that’s what we had to do to be successful. We’re learning how to play offensively with one another, and we’re getting better. And we do have the ability to score the ball, but we had to hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor, and we don’t get to pick and choose our spots when we get to defend. Tonight, we came into the first quarter, I don’t think we had the attention to detail, the energy defensively, but the guys stuck with it and in the fourth quarter, we did a really good job.
On Devin Booker:He’s a heck of a player. There’s no right way to guard him, there’s no shot he can’t make, his ability to play with the ball in his hand, he can play off the ball. He’s a threat all over the floor. You say you stopped him, and he got forty-eight. No, I think he got his. But just as a unit, we were able to do a good job in that fourth quarter and down the stretch.
On Devin Booker:All you can do with players like that is try and make it as tough as possible. Obviously, he knows what he’s doing, he scores the ball well, he’s confident. And that‘s all my job was, to make it tough. You know, in the fourth we did a good job of trying to get the ball out of his hands, and making other guys make plays. And then, obviously JV, he took care of his business on his end.
On the Grizzlies’ fourth quarter play:I think we were able to get a few stops in a row. They were scoring at will tonight, especially Devin. He’s really tough to stop on his own. And luckily, we got some misses and we were able to get down on the other end and really execute offensively. We’ve really got the pick-and-roll game, it’s really our bread and butter, and JV really took us home. And, I’m just happy with the way that we stuck with it.
On Deandre Ayton:We saw when he kind of rolled his ankle, and that’s tough. And when he went out of the game missing a big body like that, we tried to take advantage of our size down low, and our big guys did a great job of doing that.
On trying to stop Devin Booker from reaching 50 points:At some point, when a guy has forty plus points, you have to try and change up coverage on him. We tried to send more and more guys at him and try to make him more of a play maker down the stretch. You know that he’s so capable of taking over the game in the fourth, and we did a good job of really sending guys and creating deflections, getting turnovers, and finishing on the other end.
- Jonas Valanciunas logged his sixth-straight double-double, finishing with a career-high 34 points and 20 rebounds. Valanciunas becomes the fourth player in franchise history to record 30+ points and 20+ rebounds in a game, joining Zach Randolph (three times), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (once) and Lorenzen Wright (once). Valanciunas is averaging 29.5 points and 16.6 rebounds in his last six games.
- Mike Conley finished with 33 points and five assists. Conley now has nine-straight games with at least 20 points, marking the longest streak in the team’s tenure in Memphis, and the longest in franchise history since Abdur-Rahim had 10-straight 20-point performances for Vancouver in February 1999. Conley also now has nine 30-points games this season.
- Justin Holiday scored 14 points and had a pair of steals.
- Bruno Caboclo chipped in with 12 points and six boards. Caboclo has now scored in double-digits in three consecutive games.
- Tyler Dorsey added 11 points and five assists. Dorsey has reached double figures in three of his last five games.
- Delon Wright added 11 points and a career-high five steals off the bench. Wright previously had recorded four steals in a game on five different occasions in his career prior to tonight.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase tickets to the Grizzlies’ remaining contests may do so now by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.
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