The Memphis Grizzlies were coming off of a huge win against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. The Phoenix Suns have won three of their last four including a solid victory over the New York Knicks Friday night. Two teams coming off of wins, which one would start a winning streak?
The Memphis Grizzlies started off the first quarter going tit for tat with the Phoenix Suns. Rookie Guard Ja Morant was playing in his second back-to-back, and came out looking rather refreshed and ready.
Following that layup from Morant, Suns Head Coach Monty Williams called a timeout two minutes into the game. A message to the Suns that their defense needed to tighten up. From that moment on, the Grizzlies offense struggled through the middle part of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies would close out the first quarter countering the Suns defense, with some defense of their own. Memphis would cut an eight point Suns lead in half heading into the second quarter in Phoenix.
Memphis started shooting the three point shot in a bad way, but following an abysmal three point shooting first quarter, Memphis was shooting 7/13 from the field after starting 1/6, and had taken the lead in Phoenix.
Dillon Brooks started feeling his shot in the second half. He was making fade-away jump shots in the lane, and drilling three deep balls that silenced the Suns crowd.
The Grizzlies rampec up their defensive efforts, behind Jonas Valanciunas’ 20 points, had Memphis leading Phoenix 62-57 at the half. Memphis outscored the Suns 35-26 in the second quarter, and shot 55 percent from the field, and 45 percent from deep in the first half.
The Grizzlies open up the third quarter on a 9-3 run. Valanciunas with six of the Grizzlies nine points to start the second half. Jaren Jackson Jr., would put his stamp on the game in the third quarter, but with rebounding and rim protecting.
Jackson Jr. would have 15 points and seven rebounds to go along with 11/14 shooting. The Grizzlies bench unit entered, and as their run in December as one of the best offensive units in the NBA came in, and went on a tear. The Grizzlies would lead 96-77 after three quarter, and outscoring Phoenix 34-20 in the third quarter. The Grizzlies just had more overall energy in the second and third quarter, and didn’t look like a team playing in their second game of a back-to-back.
This is crazy, it looks like the Suns are playing in their 2nd game of a back-to-back.. One step behind, hands on knees, and just sluggish defensively. Memphis is surprisingly spry for being their second game of a back-to-back.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 6, 2020
The Suns opened up the fourth quarter with a 12-5 run that cut the 19 point Grizzlies lead to 11 with 8:20 remaining in the fourth.
The Grizzlies and Suns went back and fourth in the fourth quarter all the way down to the final horn, as Phoenix just wouldn’t go away. Phoenix cut the Grizzlies lead to just three with a full court trap that gave Memphis more trouble than you would think. Memphis answered with breaking the trap, and De’Anthony Melton answered with two free throws to stretch the lead to five with 40 seconds left.
The Grizzlies escaped Phoenix with a 121-114 victory over the Suns. Valanciunas led all Grizzlies with 30 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
The Grizzlies finish their three game road trip going 2-1 and win both games in their back-to-back. Memphis now heads back to Memphis for a six game home stand starting Tuesday against Minnesota.