Memphis Grizzlies 110, Phoenix Suns 91 -- Grind Ball

The Memphis Grizzlies came into tonight’s game struggling badly offensively, having only scored over 88 points once in the last five games. They were also missing their two All-Stars, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, to injuries. Fortunately for them, they found a cure to their offensive woes in the Phoenix Suns as they put up a near season high in points in a 110-91 home victory on Tuesday night.

The Suns started both halves slowly, but overcame a slow start to lead 54-46 at the half. Memphis came out in the third quarter firing on all cylinders and put up a 36 spot in the quarter that the Suns could not recover from. Ed Davis started for Randolph and dominated on both ends by scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Mike Conley and Kosta Koufos both had double-doubles themselves in the rout.

I am not sure there are many bright spots for the Suns tonight. One exception could be Marcus Morris who led the team with 18 points, including 15 in the first half. His 13 point second quarter actually helped to give the Suns a lead that was up to as many as 10 in the second quarter. Markieff Morris finished the game as the only Sun to be on the positive side of the +/- ratings. Archie Goodwin played hard in his 12 minutes of playing time and grinded out eight points. What did the Suns in Tuesday was their poor shooting from behind the three point line (7-for-29) and their inability to control the game at any point in the second half.

Now a look at the three keys from our preview.

Does the tempo go in Phoenix’s favor?

The majority of the game was spent playing Grizzlies grind ball, which the Suns had trouble getting out of especially in the second half. The first quarter was played at the Grizzlies pace, but the Suns got going in the second quarter after a Goran Dragic blocked at the 8:45 mark that kind of kick-started the offense and led to 35 point in the quarter. The second half was all Memphis though, and the Grizzlies shot 16-for-23 from the floor in the third quarter to overwhelm the Suns in the third quarter. Memphis killed the Suns in the paint by outscoring them 56-34, and that was without Gasol or Randolph.

Where do Memphis’ points come from?

Everywhere. Seven players scored in double digits for a Grizzlies team that was missing two of their leading scorers. Jon Leuer only scored 20 points all season, but led the team with 23 tonight. Davis was a key tone-setter early in the game by scoring seven in the first quarter and ending up with 21. Mike Conley had 18 and was hot early shooting 6-for-10 at one point before missing his final five shots. Tayshaun Prince, Tony Allen, Jerryd Bayless and Koufos were all in double-digits as well.

Can the Suns start fast?

The Suns started out slow both times coming out of the locker room tonight. They were able to recover after a slow start to the game that saw the Grizzlies hit six of their first seven shots, but the slow start to the second half was deadly.

The Suns led 54-46 at halftime, but Memphis went on a 13-5 run to tie the game within the first four minutes of the third quarter. Allen’s three-point shot a minute later gave the Grizzlies the lead for good. The Suns just had no answers defensively for an injury plagued Grizzlies team. There was even a point when the Grizzlies scored on ten straight shot attempts. Memphis used the quick start to get the crowd into the game and they controlled the pace for the entire second half as they ended up shooting 66 percent in the second half from the floor..

The beginning of the first quarter was not much better, but the Suns were able to recover from it. The Suns came out and shot 9-for-28 in the first quarter and were 1-for-11 from the three-point line through the first 15 minutes.


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Tags: Ed Davis Marcus Morris Memphis Grizzlies Phoenix Suns Zach Randolph

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