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Suns Comeback Falls Short Versus Grizzlies in OT, 104-98

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Tonight, for much of the game versus the Grizzlies, the Phoenix Suns could not make a shot. The effort appeared there, but nothing was falling. After trailing by double digits for much of the game, the Suns outscored Memphis 28-14 in the 4th and were in position to win the game. Yet the Suns, who had shot 63% from the charity stripe for 4 quarters had to make this difficult. 

The Suns plodded through the first quarter, losing it 25-22 to Memphis while committing 5 turnovers which resulted in 8 Grizzly points. Zach Randolph led the way with 8 and 5 while Rudy Gay Dropped 7. Channing Frye played solid defense against Marc Gasol, blocking a shot and forcing him into a turnover. Grant Hill led the Suns with 6 points while Earl Barron went for 4 points and 4 boards. 

In the second, Memphis outscored the Suns 28-19, including a 12-1 run to close out the half that included this putrid series of events:

  • Gasol layup
  • Nash TO
  • Gay 20 footer
  • JRich misses 3 nash rebound
  • JRich makes 1 FT
  • Conley layup
  • JRich missed 3
  • Grizz offensive rebound, Grizz foul
  • Barron miss
  • Randolph 23 footer
  • Frye missed 3 Hill rebound
  • Barron shot blocked
  • Hill missed dunk, Rich rebound
  • Rich miss, Hill rebound
  • Nash miss, Hill foul
  • Gay makes 1 of 2 rebound

The Suns went the final 5 minutes and change of the 2nd without a field goal (0-9), and finished the half shooting 35%, while allowing Memphis to shoot 53%. Steve Nash finished the first half with 0 points, 3 turnovers, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and one shot taken (obviously missed).

In the 4th, the Suns pulled within 3 with a 22-8 run to start the quarter and tied the game on a Hedo Turkoglu 3.  The Suns had the ball tied at 88 with 29.5 seconds left. After Nash dribbled down 19 seconds on the clock, Mr. 4th Quarter made an appearance.  Hedo stepped back from near the top of the key to nail the game winning 3 with 6 seconds left. Suns 91 Grizzlies 88.

But on the next posession Goran Dragic fouled Mike Conley beyond the arc. The officials ruled he was not yet in the act of shooting, which gave Conley 2 free tosses. On the inbound Channing Frye was fouled and instead of icing the game with 2 free throws, Frye only converted on one, leaving the Grizzlies with the ball with 2 seconds and change. With Josh Childress in his Grill, Rudy Gay drained a fall away three from the corner. OVERTIME, again.

In overtime, the Suns missed more than the Grizzlies, couldn't make any stops and threw the ball away twice. Final 104-98, Grizz.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Earl Barron is around the ball a lot on defense. Still he's pretty spazzy and seems unsure of his shot. I haven't seen him enough to know if he's just out of rhythm and pressing because he's nervous or if he's always like that. 
  • It appeared in the first quarter that Jared Dudley went for a fast break dunk, but A Grizzly forced him into a highly contested layup that went in.  Dudz had the eye of the tiger as he approached the rim.  JMZ may have more to report.
  • Goran Dragic looked a lot more aggressive and confident tonight, with 17/5/3. Still, he's fallen into the habit of complaining to the refs when he gets a no call. It is true he gets hammered a lot and doesn't get many calls, nevertheless, he needs to battle through it like a man. The whining takes him out of the game momentarily and does no good at all in this year's NBA. Take your lumps and keep playing the game, Dragon, let your coach bitch to the refs.
  • In the 2nd, on consecutive possessions, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress combined to miss 5 of 6 free throws. Also in the 2nd, Memphis brought back Zach Randolph early to match up against Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick. It was not a good matchup as Zebo picked up 4 points and 2 rebounds in a 3 minute span that saw the Grizz outscore the Suns 10-4.
  • Grant Hill, and Jason Richardson didn't play in the 4th quarter. Nash entered the 4th with 29 seconds left. Goran Dragic played the 2 throughout the overtime period.
  • Jason Richardson went 1-11, playing only 20 minutes. Tired legs after playing 24 minutes last night? Doubt it. J Rich isn't feeling it, going 4 for his last 19 in his last two games.
  • The Suns grabbed 47 boards tonight, to tie Memphis and had 5 more offensive rebounds than the Grizz. This blah night can mostly be attributed to 42% shooting, oh and Rudy Gay's incredible 3 to end regulation.
  • The Suns have lost 2 straight after putting together a string of 4 in a row. The schedule gets ugly with Dallas, Portland, OKC and Miami up next.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/08/10 10:39 PM MST ]

You reaction to this game is a reflection on your attitude as much as anything else. You can be positive about the team's ability and willingness to fight on a night that most teams (including this one in years past) would have packed it in. They had the game all but won after not being able to shoot the ball at all thanks to effort and hustle and defense and grit.

Or you can focus on the blown defensive play that left Rudy open for a corner three (Gentry said the Suns blew the switch) and you can lament the 10 missed free throws and Frye's huge miss. Not to mention the fact that the Suns waited three quarters before they brought their "effort game". 

Either way you view this game is completely fair and if you listen to Gentry's post game presser below you will see he expressed both pride and frustration.

Personally, at this point in the season and given how this team has played up to now and the fact that the shots simply weren't falling thanks to tired legs, I'm going to see the positive. This team is building an identity that doesn't allow for quit and that's a welcome change from the D'Antoni years. There are execution issues but there's also accountability for those and plenty of time to get better. 

So props to Goran for a good bounce back game and huge props to Hedo for not only his clutch shot but the multiple rebounds he secured by beating out Zach Randolph and even Marc Gasol. It was a gutty performance that I think in the long run of the season will serve this team well. 

Gentry seemed to agree. He said, "I'm convinced we're going to be a really good team." 

From him, that's big. He's not prone to making those kind of statements and last season it was a running joke that he said he needed 40 games to figure out what kind of team he had and at game 40 asked for 20 more. There's holes for sure and a lot of issues to resolve, but the character of this group is coming together and showing itself and for no other reason than that, they are worth watching this year. Just ask Sacramento and Washington fans how important that kind of thing is.

Recap w/ quotes, etc.:

Phoenix Suns Drop Overtime Game To Memphis Grizzlies On Missed Frye Free Throw - SB Nation Arizona

"Finally, huh," Dragic said when asked about the bench unit finally clicking

"We were just aggressive in defense and everybody was in the right spot. We were rotating great and after that we went to transition and scored some easy baskets. I think so if every game we play like that it would be much easier for us."

Post game audio:

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • Channing showing his improved up's by winning the tip. I swear he's added a few inches of vert to his legs this year
  • Chatting w/ Randy Hill from Fox Sports about Earl Barron's solid defensive fundamentals
  • And on cue, Barron gets the steal on Zach
  • Grant Hill, my hero and yours
  • On the board in the Suns locker room it said "We beat them in rebounding last time, do it again"
  • Shockingly, the Phoenix crowd hasn't turned out en mass for the Grizzlies on a Wednesday night
  • And another block for DPOY candidate, Channing Frye
  • I swear I am going to make a highlight reel of Earl Barron missed layups....still lowe you, EB!!
  • Jason trying to make up for all those points he didn't score last far not working so well
  • Good work by Barron to sprint down the floor and make Zebo run hard. Wear out the big beast
  • Frye does have a tendency to give bigs wide open for mid-range shots they can hit
  • Dragic in early...good call
  • Grizz on a little run with some quick shooting off Suns misses. 19-14, Grizz
  • Grizz lead the league in points in the paint but mostly they are hitting outside shots
  • JRich could be depressed about Michigan St losing to Syracuse the other night, everyone think Spartan thoughts on three. 1....2....3...GO SPARTANS!!!
  • Randolph is a bull in a bull shop but he's the stronger bull
  • OJ Mayo in. Warrick in. Barron out - no love from the Suns crowd
  • And once again we are treated to Dudley getting beat off the dribble by a guy who understands that Jared isn't really that quick
  • Suns not getting anything done on offense
  • Suns find Warrick in the paint, he draws the foul and hits both FTAs. 25-20, Grizz
  • Dudley somehow manages to avoid getting blocked by Rudy Gay on the run out. Nice stop by Suns
  • 25-22, Grizz

2nd Qtr

  • Pretty sure Goran was either fouled or traveled there but either way they scored it as a layup
  • And he attacks again...good to see
  • Dudley has a way of getting the ball thru the net in traffic despite not being able to elevate. Earl Barron has none of that same knack
  • Dragic with another drive and layup. Suns up 30-29
  • Has anyone ever seen Hedo get mad? He's a cool drink of baklava
  • Josh missed an easy layup thanks to the finger split
  • Dragic flying down the court for the fancy finish
  • It's really comical to see Zach Randolph complain that Hakim Warrick was shoving him
  • Before the game I was chatting w/ Goran in the locker room. He said he got to sleep around 3:30am. I told him that's when I went to sleep as well and I had to work longer than him tonight. He responded that he was the one running around to which I replied, "you are 15 years younger than me." He concluded we were even.
  • 39-33, Grizz. Goran hasn't touched the ball much since Josh came in. Spacing issues
  • Hedo is having himself a decent little game despite only 3 pts
  • Suns starting to run pick and roll w/ Nash and Frye which Frye is actually rolling
  • That was pretty good switching and scrambling defense, but Gay still hit a tough shot
  • And Zebo hits a three in Channing's grill. That's not fair!!! Booooo
  • Grizz now up 48-40
  • JRich not shooting well tonight. That's not a good thing. Grizz starting to leaving him alone and he's starting to hesitate on his shot. No confidence in it right now
  • Poor Grant Hill missed an open dunk...legs looking very tired right now. Not just his either
  • Grizz finish on 12-1 run. Suns can't buy a basket. 53-41, Grizz

3rd Qtr

  • The Suns offensive numbers in that half of basketball are too horrific to repeat here (hint: 14-39)
  • Suns getting open shots, but missing them
  • Nash get the first Suns basket this decade
  • 4th foul on Marc Gasol...
  • Grizz collapsing in the paint and leaving shooters open...normally that doesn't work against Suns. Tonight it is genius
  • Lionel Hollins yelling at Channing Frye after a hard foul on Conley to prevent a break away. Channing is such a mean bully! (in best soccer mom voice)
  • Dragic coming in at the 7:34 mark. In for JRich!! Nice move
  • First time this season Goran's gotten minutes at the 2 w/ Nash
  • Nash scores in the picking up slightly
  • Zebo getting testy...remember when he got kicked out of a game here for punching Lou and Lou just stood there. Lol. Good times
  • 68-55, Grizz
  • Damn, when Darrell Arthur is hits a turn around fade way with a hand in his face from 17ft on the baseline it just might not be your night
  • Dragic three...Suns somehow managing to hang around. If I were a Grizzlies fan I would be worried. Of course, if I were a Grizzlies fan I would have a lot of other things to be worried about besides this game
  • Childress playing the PF, which is actually his more effective position for the Suns right now. That's not a good thing in case you were wondering
  • Dragic iso's Hentry and schools him
  • That's two stops in a row for Phx. 74-64
  • Suns missing three's and getting ORebs
  • Energy level has picked up at least
  • That was the Suns chance there...they got a couple of stops and had plenty of open looks and just couldn't hit any of them. If they do, they are back in this game
  • 78-64

4th Qtr

  • Even the Gorilla and Sol Patrol are missing trampoline dunks
  • Suns season low in points last year was 88. They did that twice, once vs ATL and once vs LAL
  • They just passed out the box score for the 3rd Qtr. I'm not gonna look at it
  • Look, the Suns easily could have packed it in and got run off the floor but they didn't. They fought and got physical and that matters in the long run. Yes, moral victories matter in the NBA during an 82 game season
  • Great hustle there to get the steal and win the ball back and finish. 82-72
  • Nice effort by Warrick! Big rebound and dunk. That got the crowd going
  • Suns are getting a LOT of beneficial no-calls here
  • Gentry urging Suns to push the ball and get quick shots. Worked, that time
  • Suns cut lead to three. 84-81, Grizz with 5:50 to go
  • I forgot to bring a water bottle with me up here. Regretting that now. Parched
  • Hedo wins a rebound from Zach Randolph...momentum booster
  • Wow and another one!
  • Bail out call there on that Zebo foul on Warrick
  • Call goes against Xavier Henry after Dudley slams into him....comical
  • 86-83, Grizz w/ 3:00. When does Nash come back in or does he?
  • I'm glad I didn't start my recap earlier in the quarter like I normally do
  • Hedo three ties game at 86
  • Did Jared Dudley just sky for a block? Yes, yes he did. 2:26 mark. Need to see that one again
  • Dragic at the line for crucial FTAs....hmmmm
  • Makes the 1st
  • Makes 2nd, tie game at 88
  • Frye getting ready to come back in
  • Damn, Hedo just leveled Marc Gasol to win another rebound
  • 88-88 w 50 sec
  • Suns get the stop and board. 29 seconds, tie game. Nash and Hill and JRich coming in? I doubt it
  • 10 points for Grizz in the 4th so far
  • Nash in w/ Dragic, Warrick, Hedo and Frye
  • Hedo freaking Turkoglu
  • 91-88, 6.2 to go
  • Up 3 with 6.2, Suns foul after the inbound and send Conley to the line
  • Conley intentionally misses the 2nd FTA. Frye grabs the ball and is fouled. Good thing Barron didn't get the board
  • Frye misses the second FTA. 92-98 w/ 2.8 to go
  • Foul again?
  • You have to LOL...Rudy Gay catch and shoot three to tie the game


  • Good thing I don't have to work tomorrow...oh, wait. I do. But the Suns have the day off
  • Marc Gasol on the bench resting
  • Hedo for 2
  • Darrell Arthur answers in the post against Hedo
  • OT lineup is Nash, Dragic, Hedo, Dudley, Warrick
  • Conley J. Warrick in the paint. 96-96
  • Suns won 4th qtr 28-14
  • Great rotation by Zebo to knock the ball of Warrick
  • Randolph leveled Hedo in the face. He's dazed. Zebo came over and said sorry. I didn't see the hit but I am fairly sure it wasn't intentional
  • Suns 17-27 from the line tonight. Don't just blame Frye (although his miss was huge)
  • Not a great look that time, Dragic missed contested three. Hedo off the court. Energy seems to be gone. Frye has to foul Gay. Grizz up 100-96, 1:40
  • Not getting the stops they were getting in the fourth. Not the same intensity
  • Suns def need a bucket here. Hedo back on the floor and gets called for an offensive foul trying to back down Conley. Swung his elbows out trying to turn and face up
  • Nash gets into the paint for 2 easy ones
  • 100-98, Grizz w/ 45 sec. Got the stop but Arthur gets the OReb. Ouch. Time out Memphis
  • 20 sec, Grizz ball. Up 2. 15 sec on the 24 sec clock
  • And that should do it, Grizz find Zach open in front of the rim. Gentry is pissed at someone..Frye or Warrick I think. Have to see the replay. 102-98. 8.7 sec. Suns ball. Another miracle?
  • Suns get a wide open look for Nash but he can't hit it. He's 0-5 from three tonight

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