He was a game-time decision, but Devin Booker was cleared to play and his presence was paramount to the Phoenix Suns defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 116-109 on Saturday night. The win snaps a two-game losing streak for Phoenix, as well as snapping a two-game winning streak for the Grizz.
Devin Booker ended the game with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Without his help, this might have been a loss for the Suns, who needed every ounce of energy as the unrelenting Grizzlies who fought valiantly.
Jusuf Nurkic continued his dominance in the second half versus the Grizzlies after having almost every attempt of his in the first half blocked. He found a way to escape the long arms of Jaren Jackson, Jr. (who finished with 37 points) and hands in the paint, finishing the game with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
This win was much needed before heading into Tuesday's In-Season Tournament game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a game that we are all looking forward to. The Grizzlies drop to 5-14 whereas the Suns are now 12-8.
After last night’s exhausted attempt to defeat the Denver Nuggets, the Suns took a while to get things going on the offensive side of the ball. Nurkic again, started to force things offensively in the paint and got a few lay-ups to go in.
With Booker Back in the starting lineup to help his tired teammates, he finished the first quarter with eight points, shooting 3-3 from the free-throw line. He was helped By KD who added eight points, shooting 3-5. It looked like KD was back on target after missing everything in the second half of last night’s game.
It was a tied game at 27 points each heading into the second quarter. The Grizzlies were propped up by Desmond Bane's seven points and four assists in the first quarter.
The game started to spark a little more with Yuta ending the quarter with a three. A player the Suns needed to fill the shoes of a missing Eric Gordon.
Remember Drew Eubanks? Well, Drew-banks showed a sign of life after throwing down a monster dunk to start the second quarter, trying to get back into the swing of things after being M.I.A. in the last few games for the Suns.
Drew Eubanks put Jaren Jackson Jr. on a POSTER— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 3, 2023
Very little energy made its way through the remainder of the second quarter after Eubanks tried to shine some light on the game. But then Booker came in at the 4-minute mark to save the day! Like he normally does. Draining a three and using the back door to finish off an uncontested lay-in, Booker did his best to stretch some sort of a lead but the Grizzlies remained firm and glued to the Suns.
Jaren Jackson Jr. was the reason why the Grizzlies were a problem and stayed relevant in the first half. He ended with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
In the movie Home Alone, Kevin McCallister sneaks into Buzz's’ room and finds a picture of his girlfriend. He then gasps, “Woof.” That would sum up the beginning of the second half when it came to the Suns' defense and hustle. Mainly Nurkic, who was blocked again and then gave up on a few defensive plays before Frank Vogel had to spend a timeout.
Booker was having fun and got things going and the Suns had a six-point lead after Booker was able to get to the line a few times and remind the Suns how to force the issue.
Nurkic was having fun as well, getting the crowd involved and showing off by finishing with his left hand at the rim and avoiding blocks for the most part in the third quarter. The Suns pushed the lead to 11 behind another Nurk takeover and this ridiculous play by Booker.
The Suns went up 84-72, stealing 100% of the momentum from a monstrous defensive effort, leading to great offense.
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, it became apparent that the Suns might be pulling away, going up by 16 points, but the Grizzlies got a couple of stops and cut the lead to 12, grabbing a few steals and points from those turnovers.
Nurkic ended up fouling out of this game. It was a difficult game for him, having to deal with JJJ, and the shot-blocking of Bismack Biyombo. In the end, there was plenty of effort exerted by Nurkic. Giving it his all, as always.
By the time Nurkic fouled out, you could feel both the Suns players and the fans waiting for this one to just end as a Suns win. The Grizzlies had other plans, cutting the lead to six points by the Suns with 43 seconds left in the game.
Too little, too late, the Suns finished off the Grizzlies 116-109.
It’s IST time! The Suns head to LA to play the Lakers on Tuesday at 8:00pm. We’ll see you then!