The Phoenix Suns took advantage of a bad shooting night from both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol and kept the game close all along.
It was a tie game with 51.4 seconds left after a pair of rookies tied it twice for the Suns - free throws by Ayton and a three by Bridges.
Then ice cold Devin Booker made a jumper to put the Suns UP TWO with 29 seconds left. The crowd went wild on that make.
They went even WILDER when Booker walked himself into another jumper to put the Suns up AGAIN, this time with 1.7 seconds left.
The Suns got a break with bad games from Gasol and Conley, but also shot themselves in the foot with giving up 46 points on turnovers and second chances to the Grizz.
Off the bench, Mikal Bridges made four threes for 14 points and played nearly all the fourth quarter. Not sure how he doesn’t get big minutes going forward from here on out.
Devin Booker finished with 25 points and 7 assists, staying away from committing fouls in the fourth (after getting to 5 before it started).
Deandre Ayton had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
With T.J. Warren out (low back spasms), the Suns have gone back to Ryan Anderson in the starting lineup with the usual Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Trevor Ariza and Isaiah Canaan quartet.
The Grizzlies have had success with Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Garrett Temple around their two stars, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, Jr.
The Grizzlies began the night fighting really hard to run the Suns off the three-point line, and the Suns adjusted early to start driving hard on the aggressive closeouts.
Scoring was low, still, for either side and still just 9-8 Suns after 5 minutes of play.
Deandre Ayton still doesn’t contest many drives to the hoop, especially when it’s not his man. But the truth is that Ayton believes it’s important to stay on the floor as long as possible without foul trouble, and he’s right. If he’s going to get called for a foul on every other wild contest the fans (and coach maybe) want to see, then he will be much less effective in all other parts of the game. But anyway, I digress. I’m one of those fans who wishes he could already be a DeAndre Jordan who blocks all game without fouling.
Back to the game: true to season form, when Booker and Ayton share the court the Suns are the most competitive.
Suns still have an 18-15 lead with 2:45 to go in th—-
But then Ayton was subbed by Richaun Holmes, the Grizzlies made a pair of threes and the lead was gone. The Grizz took a 28-21 lead as the first quarter ended (buzzer-beating three), finishing on a 13-3 run. Frown face.
In the first quarter, the Suns gave up 13 points on turnovers. IN ONE QUARTER. This team makes me mad.
Fortunately, the Suns second unit actually played fairly well, even pulling the Suns back into the game at 34-33 before Shelvin Mack made a couple of tough shots to get the Grizzly lead back to 38-33. Timeout Igor.
Then it was 44-35 because the Suns just can’t seem to figure out how to make open jumpers and CONSTANTLY turn the ball over in the back court.
Grizzlies now have 19 points off turnovers. Of their 44 total points. Hey, maybe just maybe STOP TELEGRAPHING PASSES.
And then Marshawn Brooks took over in a way Marshawn Brooks has NEVER taken over a game. Steal. Fastbreak layup. Foul drawn. Free throw. Then beating the Suns took to the offensive rebound THAT HE MISSED.
Oh, and the Suns have 0 fast break points and Ayton has ONE field goal attempt. With three minutes left in the half.
Still, the Suns have managed to stay in the game, despite all those wtf things they’re doing, even pulling to within 54-52 with a couple seconds left...
And then another wtf moment where Canaan committed a foul AT HALF COURT, giving the Grizzlies THREE FREE THROWS going into halftime. He made two.
End of the half: Grizzlies 56, Suns 52.
- Devin Booker, 11 points, 4 assists
- Trevor Ariza, 10 points, 4 rebounds
- Isaiah Canaan, 8 points, 2 assists
- Deandre Ayton, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
- Grizzlies shooting 55% from the field, 21 points off turnovers, 7 offensive rebounds (9 second chance points), but only up 4.
Let’s see how the Suns come out for the third quarter. They got run 13-2 coming out of the gate after leading the Raptors by 4 on Friday. Will they allow the Grizzlies to do the same?
9-0 run to start the quarter for the Suns! They take the lead 61-56!
Timeout disgusted opposing coach, and for once it’s not because his team’s lead got under 20!
Then the Suns returned. Giving up a layup after engulfing the ballhandler, then throwing the ball away (Ryan Anderson), then giving up a layup on the inbounds, then getting blocked as the shot clock went down (Anderson).
First sub out was Trevor Ariza though, for Josh Jackson.
Jackson made a jumper, but then threw the ball directly to Marc Gasol for another fastbreak score for the Grizzlies. On the next possession, Suns transition defense fails them again.
Memphis takes the lead, 66-63.
The Suns continued to commit fouls (7 straight possessions with foul committed) and put the Grizz at the line. Grizzlies run went up to 14-0 before the Suns scored again.
Somehow though, the Suns pulled back within three points (76-73) before Holmes committed another shooting foul (his first, but the team’s 8th of the quarter) behind the three point line.
Jamal Crawford hit a three with 7 seconds left in the quarter to pull the Suns to within four points after three quarters. Somehow.
- Trevor Ariza has 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists
- Devin Booker’s 3rd quarter: 0 points, 0 assists, 4 fouls committed
- Suns have gotten 4+ points from 10 different players so far, shooting 54% from the field, 43% on threes
The fourth quarter began rough. Bridges got a great block on Marshawn Brooks, but then no one grabbed the loose ball except Brooks himself for a layup.
Then the Suns had a pair of bad offensive possessions before the Grizzlies scored again. 8 point game.
Ayton and Booker both in by the 9 minute mark.
But it was Dillon Brooks who took over, scoring 7 straight points all against Ariza, culminating in Ariza committing an offensive foul to give the ball back to Memphis again.
Suns pulled back to within four (93-89) on a pair of threes from Mikal Bridges and one from Devin Booker.
The Suns had a chance to pull closer, but then Conley got a back court steal again and put the Grizzlies back up 6.
Booker then got fouled on a three, pulling the Suns back to four with 2⁄3 from the line.
Booker then pulled the Suns to two down on a nice floater.
Ryan Anderson could have given the Suns the lead on a three, but missed.
Suns finally tied the game on Ayton’s free throws and then Mikal Bridges FOURTH three pointer.
Tie game 98-98 with 51 seconds left.