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Suns slip by Memphis

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Phoenix Suns - 116, Memphis Grizzlies - 111

The Suns trailed by 5 in the first quarter, went to halftime leading by 12, ended the third quarter leading by 1 and won the game by 5.  At one point the Suns lead by 14, yet the Grizzlies kept fighting their way back into the game.  Pau Gasol scored 23 and Hakim Warrick scored 22 in trying to keep the Grizzlies close to the Suns the entire game.

There were a few pretty good things that happened during the game:

  1.  The Suns kept the Grizzlies below 50% shooting.  Only two players shot over 50% for the Suns.  So not only can they keep the team with the best record from shooting well, they can also do the same for the team with the worst record.
  2.  Steve Nash had a stellar game.  He recorded 17 assists, had 6 rebounds and scored 15 points on 4-4 shooting.
  3.  Amare Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa kept the team in the game with each taking over a half.  Leandro Barbosa saved the team in the first quarter when Amare was in foul trouble.  Amare came out and scored most of his points in the second half when he was able to control the fouls a little better.
  4.  James Jones found his shooting touch and scored 14 points on 5-8 shooting.
And some bad things happened as well:
  1.  Raja Bell had another poor shooting night - shooting only 3-10 from the field.  He had been on for the past couple of games but last night he was really off.  He only shot 1-6 from the three-point line.
  2.  The Suns were outrebounded by 8 in the game and the Grizzlies had 4 more offensive rebounds.
  3.  The Suns shot 68% from the free throw line.  The Grizzlies scored 13 more points than the Suns did from the free throw line.  That's just unacceptable in any situation.
I am not too worried about the Suns only beating the Grizzlies by 5.  As has been pointed out before, every team is gunning to beat the Suns.  If they are having a bad year, like the Grizzlies are, they can say, "Well, we're not THAT bad!  We beat the Phoenix Suns!"  And if they are having a good year, they want to beat the Suns to show themselves that they would have a chance in the playoffs.  Exactly how the Suns do if they beat the Spurs or the Mavericks or the Pistons.  The Suns can't come in and surprise people anymore and each team is very prepared to meet the Suns.  All that means is the Suns are going to have some closer games than it looks like they should have on paper.  But a win is a win.  The Suns are still 3 games up on the Spurs and they play San Antonio on Thursday.  If they can somehow get that game, their home-court advantage is pretty much set for the first two rounds of the playoffs and for the Finals - if they get that far.