The Memphis Grizzlies came into the game against the Phoenix Suns after a win before Christmas against the Los Angeles Clippers. They played the Suns just a few games ago and lost on a last second three pointer by Troy Daniels. Devin Booker, the Suns premier player, did not play in the last meeting between the two teams, but played tonight.
The game started okay for the Grizzlies, but they let the Suns hit two threes back to back to give them an early lead. The Suns do not shoot the three particularly well, but they did in the last game against the Grizzlies and hit their first two tonight. Devin Booker had a quick five points in the first six minutes of the first quarter. The Grizzlies’ transition defense became a real problem in the second half of the first quarter, as they let the Suns get out to a nine point lead with just over five minutes left. Kobi Simmons continued to be a bright spot for this Grizzlies team, making things happen with his speed and quickness.
Tyreke Evans was contributing well on offense, with and without ball. He had four points and two assists in the first quarter as the Grizzlies trailed by eight at the end of the first.
The second quarter started with a delay because the arena had a different score than the official scorekeeper; by default the Grizzlies lost two points before they even started the quarter. The Grizzlies committed three fouls in less than three minutes of game action in the second quarter and they also gave up a few more threes. The Suns turned the ball over several times and committed several fouls as well, giving the Grizzlies chances at scoring the basketball in transition or at the free throw line. The Grizz could not get over the hump, still trailing by seven with just under seven minutes left in the first half. Devin Booker continued to get to the basket with ease, scoring the basketball and setting other players up. Andrew Harrison really struggled with defense against Booker, and keeping up with him. The Grizzlies were awful in the first half from behind the arc, shooting 1-9. The Suns led the Grizzlies 57 to 53 behind twenty first half points from Devin Booker.
The third quarter started with better defense from the Grizzlies but a technical foul on Dillon Brooks. The Grizzlies were much more aggressive coming into the third. The game was more chippy in the second half, after Tyson Chandler got a technical foul as well. When they started playing better defense, the Grizzlies were able to close the gap to just one point with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter. The defense got better, but the offense got worse, scoring only twelve points mid way through the quarter and going 1-14 from three. The only real offense came from either Marc Gasol or Tyreke Evans. Tyreke made a three pointer late in the third quarter to give the Grizzlies the lead, but the Suns were able to tie it right back with a transition basket. The game was tied heading into the fourth quarter behind nineteen points from Tyreke Evans.
The Grizzlies came out and forced two turnovers that lead to two alley oops to start the fourth quarter to take a four point lead. Just like in the third quarter, they committed three fouls within the first few minutes of the quarter. The lead went away as quickly as they got it, allowing the Suns to tie it up with just over eight minutes left in the game. The defense went away for the Grizzlies, letting the Suns pull out to a four point lead. The Grizzlies had scored only six points in the fourth quarter with six minutes left in the game. They turned it over on three straight possessions at one point and let the Suns’ lead grow to nine. Andrew Harrison made back-to-back buckets for the Grizzlies to get it back to a four point lead. In the last two minutes of the game, the Grizzlies just could not get out of their own way. James Ennis got a transition play, scored the bucket and got a foul call to pull within two with less than a minute to play. Ennis was able to score from the free throw line to get it within one. They got the ball back but Marc Gasol threw it away for another turnover and had to take a late foul. The Grizzlies, down three, wasted a lot of time before getting the ball to Tyreke Evans, but he was able to get to the bucket for two points. The Grizzlies were still down two when Tyreke Evans drove to the basket and missed it, but Jarell Martin was able to come up with huge put back dunk. The Suns followed with a miracle lob with six tenths of a second left from out of bounds and a Tyson Chandler dunk to win the ball game. The Grizzlies lost to the Suns 99 to 97 after some late game heroics from the Phoenix Suns.