The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t sneaking up on anyone this season. They are getting the best balls of many teams.
The Phoenix Suns, like the Golden State Warriors two days earlier, had two starters. The Grizzlies were no match for the Suns and fell 125-108 at FedExForum.
Ja Morant led the Grizzlies (20-13) with 34 points and six assists, but it was a tough offensive night for his fellow All-Stars. Jaren Jackson Jr. made 2 of 12 shots, and Desmond Bane scored 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Dillon Brooks made 3 of 9 shots and finished with seven points.
Duane led the Washington Suns (20-15) with 26 points. All Phoenix starters scored in double figures.
The loss snapped the Grizzlies’ seven-game home winning streak.
Here are some excerpts from the game.
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Grizzlies change rotation
The Grizzlies had a healthy roster outside of the absence of Danny Green, who is recovering from ACL surgery. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins made a rotation change by subbing in Zaire Williams midway through the first quarter when John Konchar normally entered. Konchar entered the game early in the second quarter when Williams entered regularly from the first season.
The Suns played without key players Devin Booker, Cameron Johnson, Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet. Jock Landale joined the starting lineup and led Phoenix with 12 first-half points. Dwayne Washington was the thorn in the side of the Grizzlies. He had a big night off the bench and led the Suns with 16 points.
Yes, Morant adjusts with sunscreen
The Suns dare Morant to shoot and crowd the paint. Every car that makes it to the rim is met by a group of defenders. Morant had 10 points on 1-of-8 shooting in the first half, then settled down. The star point guard made eight free throws in the third quarter and knocked down two 3-pointers. Morant’s big quarter helped the Grizzlies get the game within single digits, but Phoenix pushed the lead to 17 points late in the third quarter.
For the second straight game, the Grizzlies didn’t have much offensive support for Morant. Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t score his first points until the second quarter. Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies with 12 points at halftime, but missed both third-quarter shots and two free throws. He finished with 14 points, the only Morant Grizzlies player to reach double figures.
Shooting threats are raised again
The Grizzlies have been hot and cold from the 3-point line this season, and are currently at one of their worst. Memphis enters Tuesday’s game with a three-game hitting streak of under 10 3-pointers. The shooting continues again in Phoenix. Memphis shot 8-for-30 on 3-pointers. Those numbers can’t keep up, especially when an opponent is as hot as the sun. Phoenix made 17 of 31 3-pointers.
Memphis goes on the road to play the Toronto Raptors. The Grizzlies have lost three of their four road games, but the Raptors (15-19) are struggling this season. Still, Toronto is 10-7 at home, and forward Pascal Siakam is the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.