PHOENIX — When the Phoenix Suns opened their season, it’s doubtful they expected many nights in which P.J. Tucker would lead them in scoring. Yet in their latest example of offensive...

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Open shots, tough shots, fadeaways, layups, free throws... no matter that the Suns tried, they could not get that ball to fall through the net.

By halfway through the 4th, the Grizzlies had an easy 10-point lead and just coasted to the finish. Literally coasted. Marc Gasol walked back down the court on offense. The Grizzlies relaxed their defense enough to let the Suns finally score a bit.

Some interesting developments there in the 4th:

  • Gentry stayed with his lineup - that couldn't score - for several minutes. By the time most of the starters returned, it was a 10-point Grizz lead, despite the Grizz committing turnovers on 5 straight possessions. The Suns could not capitalize.
  • Jared Dudley did not play in the 4th, in lieu of Shannon Brown and P.J. Tucker.
  • Despite Memphis going with a 2-point guard offense to close the last 8 minutes - Conley and lil' Booz Bayless - the Suns did not play their once-loved 2-PG lineup of Dragic and Telfair.
  • So basically, Shannon Brown played ahead of both Telfair and Dudley in the 4th.
  • Brown shot 3-for-9 in 27 minutes of play, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals

Goran Dragic had only 2 points and 5 assists through three quarters, after scoring 19 with 7 assists and 12 with 8 assists in the prior two games against Memphis. His counterpart, Mike Conley, had a forgettable game as well. Should we credit both defenses?

The first quarter started like the last three quarters of Friday night's game. The Suns started 2-14 with 4 turnovers on top of that. At least this time, it was thanks to the opponents defense as much as the Suns' offense. The Suns recovered while playing spirited defense and only trailed by 5 at the end of the first.

Gentry once again went with an all-sub unit in the second and they held their own against a Memphis second unit that's not very good either. But this time, Wesley Johnson got the call over Michael Beasley and (somewhat) delivered. Johnson made two 3-pointers and stuffed Rudy Gay on a fast break.

But still the Suns offense stayed in the old deep freeze. They only shot 32% in the first half, but only trailed by 3 by keeping the Grizzlies out of the hoop as well.

It was 41-38 Grizzlies at halftime, similar to the 42-40 halftime deficit the Suns faced on Friday night. No offensive rhythm for the Suns. Somehow staying close because the other team had no rhythm either.

The first team to get their act together on offense wins the game.

In the third, it was the Grizzlies. At least on fast-break releases by Rudy Gay and killer jump shots by Zach Randolph. But the Suns did not fold. They stayed close, keeping the game between 6-10 points for most of the quarter.

Goran Dragic had a terrible shooting night and the Grizzlies didn't allow the Suns to get their offense flowing on any level. But P.J. Tucker tried mightily to keep the Suns in the game with 11 of the Suns' 24 points in the period (15 for the game through 3).

After getting 19 and 7 and then 12 and 8 against Memphis in the first two meeting of the year, Dragic had a very bad game (for him) with only 2 points and 5 assists through 3 quarters of play.

Unfortunately, Memphis scored 30 of their own in the third to take a 71-62 lead into the final stanza.

Carlos Boozer... Jarryd Bayless led the Grizzlies into the 4th quarter, where the Suns managed to cut the lead to 6 before Memphis scored again after several bad possessions in a row by both teams.

But the Suns just could not find any offense with their second unit for the third game in a row, ironically since P.J. Tucker moved to the starting lineup.

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P.J. Tucker is starting, along with Dudley, Dragic, Scola and Gortat.

Will the Suns be a tough matchup once again for the Grizzlies?

Both coaches acknowledge these teams played two good games, but had no interest in saying the Suns are a tough matchup. Just happenstance.

Will the Suns play a clean, hard game? Or will they lose their confidence if something goes wrong? Tough to stay confident when you've lost 14 of 19 games.

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The first two games of this season series are ones to remember, as most games against the Memphis Grizzlies tend to be. Recall a few years ago when Jason Richardson made a layup/dunk with no time left on the clock to force overtime after Rudy Gay had made a tough 3 to take the lead?

Earlier this season, the Suns had a big lead in Memphis only to succumb to Zach Randolph's best game of the season and fall eventually in overtime after Jermaine O'Neal missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.

Then the Suns beat the Grizzlies on a "Dragic" - a twisting, stop-and-go layup by Goran Dragic amongst three Grizzlies with 0.5 seconds left on the clock after Rudy Gay had hit a huge game-tying jumper on the other end with P.J. Tucker's hand in his face.

What will happen tonight?

If Friday is any indication, the Suns home success against tough opponents will be sorely tested. There's only so many times you can go to the well.

But then again, the Suns seem to match up well against the Grizzlies, who only boast one offensively-dangerous wing player and whose front line, while immensely talented, can't jump any higher than the Suns' duo of Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat.

Last time, the Suns stopped a 7-game losing streak at the expense of the mighty Grizz, a win that started a 4-game winning streak. Tonight, the Suns come in having lost 7 of their last 8.

Quick notes on Suns players

  • Jared Dudley has scored 15+ points in 9 of last 13 games
  • Luis Scola has scored 15+ points in 4 consecutive games
  • Marcin Gortat leads Suns with 12 double-doubles in 34 games
  • Marcin Gortat has played in every single game since joining the Suns in December 2010, starting the last 111 consecutive games
  • Shannon Brown is averaging a career-high in scoring (12.4) for the fourth straight season
  • Goran Dragic leads the team in scoring, assists, steals and free throw attempts (4.1 per game)

Quick notes on tonight's matchup

  • Each team has won on their home floor this year
  • Suns are 28-6 all-time at home against the Grizzlies
  • Suns have yet another chance at franchise win #2,000 tonight

After this, the Suns embark on a 4-game road trip where they are 2-14 on the season.

Grizzlies stats


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Rudy Gay 29 36.4 6.9 16.8 40.9 1.1 3.3 32.6 3.2 4.1 79.7 1.3 4.6 5.9 2.6 2.4 1.5 0.8 2.3 18.0
Zach Randolph 29 35.3 6.8 13.9 49.1 0.0 0.3 12.5 3.0 3.9 76.1 4.6 7.7 12.3 1.3 2.2 0.8 0.6 2.2 16.7
Marc Gasol 30 35.2 5.1 10.6 48.4 0.0 0.2 0.0 3.6 4.1 87.8 2.4 5.0 7.4 3.8 1.8 1.1 1.9 3.1 13.9
Mike Conley 29 34.3 4.6 10.9 42.0 1.4 3.6 39.0 2.7 3.2 83.0 0.7 2.2 2.8 6.3 2.7 2.4 0.2 2.0 13.3
Tony Allen 27 25.8 3.1 7.6 41.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 1.4 1.9 73.1 1.0 2.6 3.5 0.7 1.0 1.7 0.5 2.5 7.6
Marreese Speights 30 14.9 2.7 6.2 43.9 0.1 0.1 50.0 1.4 1.9 73.2 2.1 2.9 5.1 0.4 0.9 0.2 0.8 2.1 6.9
Quincy Pondexter 27 23.1 2.3 5.4 41.8 1.2 2.9 42.3 0.9 1.2 75.8 0.8 1.5 2.3 1.3 0.9 0.7 0.1 1.8 6.7
Darrell Arthur 18 15.7 2.7 5.8 46.7 0.1 0.4 28.6 0.4 0.5 88.9 0.9 1.6 2.6 0.6 0.9 0.4 0.6 2.1 6.0
Jerryd Bayless 30 16.4 2.0 5.1 38.3 0.5 1.6 30.6 0.7 0.9 80.8 0.1 1.5 1.7 3.1 1.5 0.7 0.3 1.9 5.1
Wayne Ellington 30 16.5 1.9 4.8 38.9 0.9 2.3 40.0 0.4 0.4 91.7 0.1 1.1 1.2 1.1 0.5 0.4 0.0 1.0 5.0
Hamed Haddadi 7 5.4 0.7 1.4 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.0 1.9 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.1 1.0 1.4
Josh Selby 6 4.8 0.2 1.5 11.1 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.5 0.7 75.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.8 0.8
Tony Wroten 4 2.5 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.3 0.0


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