It was certainly a wild finish in Memphis tonight. After rallying hard in the 4th quarter, Phoenix ran out of steam in double overtime, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, 122-110. This was yet another winnable game for Phoenix, but continued shooting woes from outside (8-35 from 3-point range) and late game errors (but no technicals!) cost them.
This started out as the game we all saw coming. It was the same recipe the Memphis Grizzlies have used to beat Phoenix in their last 5 meetings: slow the game down, feed the post, and swallow the souls of the Phoenix Suns. The final score may have been close, but the game never really was until the final moments. Memphis maintained a 10 point cushion from the start of regulation and held off any and all Suns' rallies including a 4th quarter push to send the game to overtime and a 2-point Phoenix lead with 17.9 seconds left in the first OT.
Just as I was set to crown Alex Len the player of the game, P.J. Tucker happened. Tucker had 9 big 4th quarter points, including a lay-up with 5.9 seconds left to push the game into overtime. But he wasn't done there. He scored Phoenix's first OT points and made some clutch defensive plays and rebounds to keep Phoenix in the game. Despite his solid play, he cost Phoenix a key turnover when he collided with Eric Bledsoe, who had stellar position, on a rebound in overtime.
Despite leading Phoenix in scoring, Isaiah Thomas may have cost Phoenix the game with 17.9 seconds left in overtime. With the Suns clinging to a 2-point lead and an opportunity for Phoenix to dribble out the clock, IT3 failed to get the ball past mid-court and made a terrible pass in doing so (committing the 6th of his 7 turnovers), leading to a pair of Courtney Lee free throws that sent the game to double OT where Memphis crushed any hope Phoenix had.
Memphis dominated the final stanza, outscoring Phoenix 14-2.
The best news for Suns fans coming out of this game is that Alex Len continued his growth as the Suns' big man of the future. He locked up his 4th double-double of the season in the third quarter and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds and generally outplayed Marc Gasol (12 points on 5-14 shooting, 9 rebounds).
The Slash brother were non-factors, combining for 20 points on 9-27 shooting.
Zach Randolph was unstoppable for the Grizzlies, tallying 27 points and 17 rebounds before fouling out in double overtime. He simply abused Markieff Morris (11 points, 9 rebounds) on the block, as well as anyone else Phoenix threw at him. Mike Conley was his partner in crime, nearly garnering a quadruple double with 25 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
The Suns will look to avoid a third loss in a row as Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers visit Phoenix on Tuesday.
* Suns continue to start games slowly, going 2-7 from the field in the first 4 minutes. Meanwhile, Zach Randolph is abusing Markieff Morris to the tune of 5-6 and 10 points.
* Welp. 6 minutes in, Memphis, by way of Zach Randolph is dominating Phoenix, 14-4. Zach Randolph has 12 of their 14 points. Markieff Morris is a non-factor on defense right now.
* Suns show some life and cut the Memphis lead to 7, 18-11 with 2:47 to in the first. Zach Randolph picks up his second personal which can't hurt Phoenix's cause.
* How does an 88-60 final sound to everyone? Suns trail the Grizz 22-15 at the end of the first quarter.
* Brandan Wright scores his first 2 points as a Sun on nice lob from Gerald Green. Memphis lead sits at 5 with 9:35 left in the second quarter.
* And with 8:15 left in the 2nd, Suns get the lead down to 2, 25-23 on a B-Wright free throw following a B-Wright block. More of that please!
* That didn't last long. The Nick Calathes show goes primetime with a Calathes steal and lay-up a few seconds after a loooooooong 3-ball, also by Calathes. Memphis leads 34-23 with 7 minutes to go in the half.
* Suns try to get out on a fast break. Marc Gasol ends it with a swat on Goran Dragic. Suns still trail, 40-31.
* Zach Randolph stops schooling Kieff, start schooling Alex Len. Zach gets his 13th and 14th points on free throws after drawing a foul from the young Ukrainian.
* Memphis expanded their lead to 14, but Phoenix managed to stop the bleeding. At halftime, your score is Memphis Grizzlies 51, Phoenix Suns 41. Zach Randolph leads everyone with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Markieff Morris is high man for Phoenix, with 10 points.
* Ugly start to the second half. Memphis races out to 61-45 lead.
* Alex Len's effort continues to be strong in the face of adversity resulting in a steal, dunk and one.
* Blurg. Phoenix's 2-point woes continue. The Suns are 2-16 from downtown as Memphis expands their lead to 64-50.
* Phoenix continues to trail as Memphis imposes their will on this game. The lone bright spot for the Suns? Alex Len has a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds with 3 minutes left in the third. Memphis 70, Phoenix 60.
* Zach Randolph is eating the Suns' lunch. His 10th rebound also nets him his 23rd and 24th points. Put that in your double-double pipe and smoke it.
* OMG, Suns made a three! Isaiah Thomas gets the Memphis lead down 9. Phoenix is now 3-19 from long range. Which is better than 2-18 I guess.
* The good news is Phoenix hit a pair of 3 pointers to end the period. The bad news is they can't seem to get closer that 9 points to Memphis. 75-66 going into the final period.
* Get the kindling ready. A Vince Carter 3-pointer makes it a 14 point Memphis advantage with 10:32 left in the game.
* Don't look now, but Phoenix has put together a 11-0 run to get within 3 points, 82-79. 7:07 left in the game.
* And really don't look now. Memphis answered the bell with a spurt of their own to extend the lead to 9 with just over 3 minutes left in the game. I don't see Phoenix recovering at this point.
* Maybe I just can't see. Phoenix cuts the lead back down to 3 points with 1:30 left in the game with the help of a couple P.J. Tucker 3-pointers.
* The rest of the Suns follow P.J.'s lead! After letting the Memphis lead grow back to 6, a Marcus Morris 3-pointer and Eric Bledsoe lay-up (off an Isaiah Thomas steal) has Phoenix within 1 point with 25.7 seconds to go!
* P.J. Tucker may turn out being the hero of the game! He scores on an iso with 5.9 seconds left to tie the game 101-101! We're going to overtime!
* P.J. continues to be a clutch machine for Phoenix, scoring the Suns's first 2 points in overtime.
* Memphis does not go quietly, recapturing the lead 106-103.
* An IT fastbreak cuts the Memphis lead to 1!
* Bl3DSHOW! After getting clocked by P.J. Tucker on a rebound attempt, Eric Bledsoe hits a huuuuuuuuge 3-pointer to give Phoenix a 2 point lead with 33.3 seconds left.
* Well, Phoenix could have put this away, but Isaiah Thomas dallied in the backcourt and turned the ball over. Memphis ties on a pair of Courtney Lee free throws, Bledsoe misses a tough jumper as time expires. Double OT, here we go.
* Alex Len fouls out on the first play in double OT. Dragic fouled out on the penultimate play of the first OT. It took longer than I thought but Phoenix is done.
* Memphis has scored all 9 points in double overtime so far. 117-108 with 2:28 remaining.