Jared Dudley led the Suns with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Steve Nash dished out 15 assists and Marcin Gortat celebrated Polish Heritage Day with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Tonight the hero though was the Suns bench and the sum of the total defensive parts that held the Grizzlies to 42% shooting and won the rebounding war 52-35.
The Grizzlies jumped out to a 12-4 lead off of 2 Nash turnovers and 3 Suns missed shots. A 10-4 Suns run made it a 2 point game. The Suns finished the quarter with 5 turnovers which led to 8 Grizzly points.
The Grizzlies began the second on a 10-2 run as the Suns second unit missed shots and turned the ball over for a 39-28 lead. After a Suns timeout, Markieff Morris, (0-3, -8, 1 TO and 2 fouls) was replaced by Channing Frye while Michael Redd (0-2, 1 TO, -8) was replaced by Jared Dudley. At 4.56 left Nash and Gortat returned to key a 6-0 Suns run reducing the Grizz lead to 4. Four consecutive buckets by Jared Dudley including a 3 tied the ballgame up at 51. A Robin Lopez bucket put the Suns up at the half 53-51.
In the 3rd quarter, it took the Suns exactly 52 seconds to commit their first turnover. After 3 more, the Grizzlies regained the lead on a Mike Conley jumper. ENTER THE WARMACHINE...Hakim Warrick hit two free throws only. But the Suns went on an 8-2 run punctuated by a Jared Dudley layup off a Shannon Brown feed to recapture the lead 77-72. Steve Nash hit a wide open 3, and the Suns increased their lead to 7 , 80-73.
In the 4th, a Suns lineup of Brown-Telfair-Dudley-Lopez-Warrick held down the fort for 4+ minutes until Grant Hill re-entered the game at the 8.47 mark. Phoenix reeled of 6 straight to take a 91-81 lead with 6 minutes left.
"That one felt good...What made me happiest is I think we are doing it on the defensive end. our offense has been OK but I think most of the things that are happening and coming up offensively is because of what we are doing defensively."
"We've definitely started to play some better basketball. We have a lot of support from the bench right now. Every game someone's coming in and helping us a lot. Today was definitely Robin who came in and did a tremendous job. Obviously Hakim brought a lot of energy and execution and offense also..."
(On starting slow and then getting hot in a game) "...that's how it is in this league when you're playing well and you're hitting shots your teammates start to look for you and I do that for my teammates..."
(On the team's play first half of the season vs second half) "it was weird from the chemistry when it comes to playcalling, I think we ran pick n' rolls all the time, defensively we put in a whole new defensive scheme, how we guard the pick n' roll to how we guard the post-up, so that takes time. We changed starting lineups then we changed back, trying to integrate Channing, then we signed Michael Redd...all that stuff takes time, it's now starting to click and we have a rotation...defensive principles, basically we're starting to master that, so it's good..."