Suns Lose Lead, Game to Grizzlies

by Matt Petersen

For three quarters it looked like the Suns finally had the Grizzlies solved. They were holding their own on the glass and the bench had outscored the Memphis reserves who helped swing the previous two meetings this season.

Then Mike Conley reminded Phoenix why Memphis has held onto him his entire career. The seventh-year guard scored nine of his game-high 31 points in the final period, leading the Grizzlies in a 104-99 win over the Suns.

Phoenix’s offense kept their opponents at bay most of the way, 9-of-19 from three-point range through the first three quarters.

They went cold in the fourth, however, hitting just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Goran Dragic led the Suns with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Markieff Morris scored 17 and Gerald Green added 12.

In their first game since finding out star guard Eric Bledsoe is out indefinitely after knee surgery, the Suns appeared motivated to put the news behind them and respond with their second road win in three nights. Dragic, Ish Smith and recently signed Leandro Barbosa kept the Suns’ attack at lethal pace, helping the offense to 52 percent shooting in the first half and just six turnovers for the entire game.

Phoenix led by 10 after a Barbosa layup capped off an 8-0 run in the first quarter.
Memphis stayed in the game by hitting timely shots and the offensive glass. Zach Randolph (20 points, 12 rebounds) and backup forward Ed Davis (10 points, 17 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles. A short-range shot from Davis pushed Memphis’ lead to five with 2:09 remaining.

Markieff Morris drove hard to the rim and scored on the next trip down, but James Johnson responded with a three-pointer off an assist from Conley. Morris again scored for Phoenix, but Conley was fouled and hit his free throws.

P.J. Tucker tipped in a Morris miss to cut the lead to four and Courtney Lee missed a three-pointer to give the Suns the ball with 37 seconds left. Green missed his three-point attempt, however, and Memphis hit their final six free throws to close out the game.

Phoenix plays its fourth road game in five nights tomorrow when they take on Detroit.