Open shots, tough shots, fadeaways, layups, free throws... no matter that the Suns tried, they could not get that ball to fall through the net.
By halfway through the 4th, the Grizzlies had an easy 10-point lead and just coasted to the finish. Literally coasted. Marc Gasol walked back down the court on offense. The Grizzlies relaxed their defense enough to let the Suns finally score a bit.
Some interesting developments there in the 4th:
- Gentry stayed with his lineup - that couldn't score - for several minutes. By the time most of the starters returned, it was a 10-point Grizz lead, despite the Grizz committing turnovers on 5 straight possessions. The Suns could not capitalize.
- Jared Dudley did not play in the 4th, in lieu of Shannon Brown and P.J. Tucker.
- Despite Memphis going with a 2-point guard offense to close the last 8 minutes - Conley and lil' Booz Bayless - the Suns did not play their once-loved 2-PG lineup of Dragic and Telfair.
- So basically, Shannon Brown played ahead of both Telfair and Dudley in the 4th.
- Brown shot 3-for-9 in 27 minutes of play, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals
Goran Dragic had only 2 points and 5 assists through three quarters, after scoring 19 with 7 assists and 12 with 8 assists in the prior two games against Memphis. His counterpart, Mike Conley, had a forgettable game as well. Should we credit both defenses?
The first quarter started like the last three quarters of Friday night's game. The Suns started 2-14 with 4 turnovers on top of that. At least this time, it was thanks to the opponents defense as much as the Suns' offense. The Suns recovered while playing spirited defense and only trailed by 5 at the end of the first.
Gentry once again went with an all-sub unit in the second and they held their own against a Memphis second unit that's not very good either. But this time, Wesley Johnson got the call over Michael Beasley and (somewhat) delivered. Johnson made two 3-pointers and stuffed Rudy Gay on a fast break.
But still the Suns offense stayed in the old deep freeze. They only shot 32% in the first half, but only trailed by 3 by keeping the Grizzlies out of the hoop as well.
It was 41-38 Grizzlies at halftime, similar to the 42-40 halftime deficit the Suns faced on Friday night. No offensive rhythm for the Suns. Somehow staying close because the other team had no rhythm either.
The first team to get their act together on offense wins the game.
In the third, it was the Grizzlies. At least on fast-break releases by Rudy Gay and killer jump shots by Zach Randolph. But the Suns did not fold. They stayed close, keeping the game between 6-10 points for most of the quarter.
Goran Dragic had a terrible shooting night and the Grizzlies didn't allow the Suns to get their offense flowing on any level. But P.J. Tucker tried mightily to keep the Suns in the game with 11 of the Suns' 24 points in the period (15 for the game through 3).
After getting 19 and 7 and then 12 and 8 against Memphis in the first two meeting of the year, Dragic had a very bad game (for him) with only 2 points and 5 assists through 3 quarters of play.
Unfortunately, Memphis scored 30 of their own in the third to take a 71-62 lead into the final stanza.
Carlos Boozer... Jarryd Bayless led the Grizzlies into the 4th quarter, where the Suns managed to cut the lead to 6 before Memphis scored again after several bad possessions in a row by both teams.
But the Suns just could not find any offense with their second unit for the third game in a row, ironically since P.J. Tucker moved to the starting lineup.