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Final Score: Phoenix Suns come up short to Grizzlies

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

After the Phoenix Suns seemed to have figured out the Memphis Grizzlies this season, and took a strong 11-point lead into halftime, the Grizzlies decided they'd had enough of losing.

The Grizzlies cut the Suns lead to three points in the third, then took their final lead on a driving layup by Zach Randolph to give the Grizz a 99-97 lead.

The Suns had stormed back from a 92-87 deficit with a roaring crowd from Brandon Knight's big plays, but they could not convert when it mattered most.

The Grizzlies won on free throws down the stretch, closing out a 103-97 win.

First half

The Suns came out sharp while the Grizzlies understandably struggled with Ray McCallum as their playmaker. In a rare show of good passing, the Suns assists on all five of their field goals in the first six minutes as they took a 13-6 lead before Memphis went on a 6-0 run to pull within one. P.J. Tucker (2) and Alex Len (1) took advantage of good Suns cuts to the rim.

The Grizzlies took their first lead at 14-13 on a Zach Randolph drive to the hoop against Tyson Chandler. Chandler was having another one of his "don't really want to be here" starts. At least in terms of body language.

The Grizzlies ground their way to a lead thanks to the Suns forgetting how to make shots. The Suns shot just 28% in the first quarter, including Brandon Knight going 0-6 from the field.

The Grizzlies ended the quarter with a 24-21 lead by shooting 55% on a series of isolation plays. The Grizzlies ended the quarter on a 18-8 run.

Brandon Knight opened the second quarter and missed another one being sat down while Ronnie Price made a couple of big threes to pull the Suns back to just a 28-27 deficit.

The Suns took the lead against a bad Grizzlies second unit. Remember, the Grizz have been decimated by more injuries than the Suns at any point this season and are still finding ways to win games.

But then the all-bench unit of Ronnie Price, John Jenkins, Chase Budinger, Jon-Leuer and Mirza Teletovic went on an 18-2 run and the game seemed to get out of hand. Jenkins had his best stretch as a Sun, with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists during the run.

The Suns closed the half with a 50-39 lead over a Grizzlies team that just didn't seem to have any answers. After shooting 55% in the first quarter, the Grizzlies shot just 22% in the second (5-for-22).

Second half

The Suns opened the second half with a bit less fire. Tyson Chandler (back spasms) did not start the second half, replaced by Jon Leuer.

That put Alex Len back into the starting center position. He did not do well. After getting fouled on his first shot of the half, he made a habit of trying to pass out of every other shooting opportunity. The missed shots of the last few games got to his head.

Meanwhile, Archie Goodwin is nowhere to be found. He must have done something to frustrate the coach. It's two DNP-CDs now.

The Suns managed to keep the lead through three quarters, but only barely. Despite shooting just 37% from the field, the Suns led 73-70 thanks to 20 points on free throws as the frustrated Grizzlies tried to use physicality to beat back the Suns.

Devin Booker (14 points) and P.J. Tucker led the way for the Suns, with Brandon Knight providing a little of everything (9//5/5) despite a terrible shooting night. Jon Leuer was the surprising contributor, with 8 points and 10 rebounds through three quarters.

Final quarter

The Suns bench mob couldn't keep it up. Leuer, Mirza, Price, Budinger and Jenkins tried to hold their own during a Lance Stephenson fueled run by the Grizz to win a very badly needed game on their schedule. Stephenson won.

Quickly, the pop gun Grizzlies had a 1-point lead on the back of Lance's big game. At the 8:58 mark of the 4th, Lance had 14 points on 5/5 shooting and 4/4 FTs.

Then Jordan Farmar happened. He scored 10 points, drew an offensive foul and had an assist in an eight minute span as the Grizzlies took a five point lead.

Then the Suns stormed back to take a lead as the crowd went wild. Brandon Knight had a pair of nice assists to Len and free throws before sinking a jumper to give the Suns a 97-95 lead.

Zach Randolph tied the game at 97-97 with just over a minute left on a driving layup.

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