Jackson Scores Career-High as Suns Defeat Grizzlies

by Cody Cunningham

With T.J. Warren out due to injury, Josh Jackson was placed back into the starting lineup as the Suns faced the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. It was clear early on that the rookie was destined for a career-night.

Jackson grabbed a rebound with four seconds remaining in the second quarter, sprinted the court and launched a three that dropped in at the buzzer. The rookie already had 18 first half points as the Suns took a 57-54 lead into the break.

“Overall he’s playing at a high intensity,” Devin Booker said about his teammate. “Started on the defensive end, got some layups and his jump shot started falling.”

Josh Jackson Hits the Buzzer-Beater vs Grizzlies

Jackson continued this success through the third quarter as he entered the final frame already tied with a career-high 23 points. He was sent to the free throw line early on in the fourth quarter and knocked down both shots to push his career-high to 25.

Two of the three matchups against the Grizzlies this season came down to the wire so it was no surprise that a similar scenario was setting up for the Suns. Jackson would need some assistance and in stepped Shaquille Harrison and Booker.

Harrison is currently on a ten-day contract, but that hasn’t held him back from making his presence known. He tallied four steals in the fourth quarter alone and was huge for the team down the stretch.

“The thing with Shaq, it's not only is the things you see on the stat sheet, it’s the effort plays that he’s making,” Booker said. “Diving on the ball, getting steals, getting other people involved.”

Harrison became the first NBA player to have multiple games of four-plus steals within his first four career games since 2008. He is also the only Suns player to do so since Alvan Adams in 1975.

Even with Harrison’s fight and Jackson’s big night, it was once again Booker closing out the game. Booker scored eight of the Suns final 10 points as they defeated the Grizzlies 110-102.

“Tonight was a must-win for us,” Booker said. “I’m happy how we started the game. There was a few ups and downs throughout the game, but we finished out strong.”

Booker Scores Game-High 34 in Win Over Grizzlies

Booker scored a game-high 34 points to go along with his six rebounds and three steals. This was his third straight game scoring 30 points. Jackson was not far behind him scoring a career-high 29 points with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

“He was unbelievable the whole night,” Booker said.

His success wasn’t just shown on the offensive end as Head Coach Jay Triano gave the 20-year-old the challenge of guarding three-time NBA All-Star Marc Gasol.

“I think he’s embracing the challenges that we give him as far as guarding tough players and guarding out of position,” Triano said. “He’s so scrappy. He’ll fight everybody for everything and never allow an easy catch.”

Since the start of 2018, Jackson is averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as the rookie continues to get used to the playing at the next level.

Highlights: Jackson Scores Career-High 29 Points

“I just think he’s starting to feel a lot more comfortable and understanding the NBA game,” Triano said. “He’s been great for the last two months.”

Jackson and the Suns return home on Friday as the Suns host the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s 2000s “Decade Night” at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Come join the Suns greats such as Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Stephon Marbury and many more. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive an exclusive Steve Nash bobblehead brought to you by Takis.

If you’re not able to make it, be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.