Chandler Game-Winning Alley-Oop Lifts Suns Over Grizzlies

by Cody Cunningham

After missing the past nine games due to injury, Devin Booker was back in the Suns starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Grizzlies and the shooting guard didn’t seem to skip a beat.

Booker came out firing and knocked down his first bucket just 13 seconds into the game. By halftime, he already had 20 points and the Suns were up 57-53.

“Really good,” Booker said on how it felt to make his first shot. “Coach drew up the play for me. I was really excited. It was better than Christmas for me getting a chance to get back out on the floor.”

Devin Booker with 32 Points vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies battled back in the second half and with five seconds left in the game, the Suns held just a two-point lead. Tyreke Evans drove to the basket for a layup, but his missed attempted was followed up by a putback from Jarell Martin.

The game was tied at 97 and there was only 0.6 seconds left on the clock. The Suns would need an immediate basket, and Head Coach Jay Triano knew exactly what play to call up.

“You cannot goaltend the ball that isn’t going to count,” Triano said. “So I told our guy shoot the ball in the basket and all Tyson has to do is touch it on the way down or grab the rim and have it hit your knuckle and go in.”

Dragan Bender inbounded the ball with a shot and the high-flying Chandler slammed down the alley-oop to put the Suns up 99-97 with only 0.4 seconds remaining.

“It was never practiced. I didn’t even know that was the rule until when he took the job and he said ‘If we ever get in a position where there’s point something on the clock, we’re going to run this play,” Chandler said. “As soon as it happened I was like ‘We’re running the play?’ and he’s like ‘Yea we’re running the play.”

This was just the second time all season that two teams have scored in the final second of the game.

Tyson Chandler Game-Winning Alley-Oop vs Grizzlies

“We’ve never run that play and it was kind of crazy with all the situation going on,” Bender said “You know, once you look at a play, you realize it’s the right play to do. Like I said, 0.6 on the clock it’s really hard to get a good shot off. That was the only option.”

A missed shot attempt from the Grizzlies as the clock expired finished the game and left the Suns walking away with a dramatic, but satisfying win. This was Triano’s 100th career-win as a head coach.

“It feels good,” Booker said. “A little winded, but I’ll take that with a win. First game back, coming out with a close win in a high-energy game, it was all great.”

Booker finished with a game-high 32 points to go along with his six assists and five rebounds. Marquese Chriss also tied a career-high with 13 rebounds in the Suns victory.

The Suns will hit the road for their Friday night matchup against the Sacramento Kings. Catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.