MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Memphis Grizzlies are finding
different ways to win at home.
The Grizzlies built an 11-point lead with 2:22 left, took a few
scoring runs from Phoenix, but held on to extend their
franchise-best home winning streak to nine games on Monday with a
125-118 victory over the Suns.
"We're playing to be respected," said forward Rudy Gay, who
led Memphis with 31 points and nine rebounds. "We just want to be
respected out there. We didn't change anything we do. We just went
out there and played hard.
"We've got to protect our house. Every team in the league does
But Memphis is doing it at a surprising rate so far this season.
The nine-game home winning streak has helped the Grizzlies
establish a 15-5 home record, including going undefeated on the
four-game homestand that ended Monday. The Grizzlies had never
swept a homestand of four games or more in the team's 15-year
"It was a good chance for the whole world to see us, how we've
improved, and how much we've been playing better," forward Zach
Randolph said of the nationally televised game on TNT.
Randolph added 27 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis. O.J. Mayo
had 28 points and Marc Gasol 19 points.
Six Suns were in double figures led by Steve Nash with 22 points
and 12 assists. Robin Lopez had a career-high 19 points on 8-of-10
shooting from the field, and Grant Hill scored 16. Leandro Barbosa
finished with 14, and Amare Stoudemire added 12 points and nine
rebounds. Louis Amundson had 10 points for the Suns, who dropped
their fourth straight.
While Memphis is playing well at home, the Suns are struggling
on the road. The loss was the fourth straight, all on the road for
Phoenix, which has lost 11 of its last 12 away from home.
"I've never been on a bad road team, so it's strange for me. I
don't know what it is," Nash said.
"Rough is the right word," Lopez said of the road stretch.
"When you look at it, I think we played very well, and that's a
positive. We just need to correct a few mistakes."
Memphis almost squandered its 11-point lead as the Grizzlies
struggled from the line down the stretch, allowing the Suns to pull
within 119-115 on Barbosa's steal and layup with 47 seconds left.
His 3-pointer with 21.9 seconds remaining cut the lead to 121-118.
But Memphis hung on when Gasol and Randolph both hit a pair of
free throws in the final 20 seconds for the victory.
"It was too much (to overcome) at that time of the game," Nash
said of the 11-point deficit.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said his team's 18 turnovers were a key
advantage for Memphis. Nash had six of the miscues.
"Look at the turnovers," Gentry said. "You can't give up 23
points on your turnovers. You can't defend the turnover. That got
us in trouble again, and then we have to be able to come up with
Both teams had significant rallies, with the lead changing in
the first half before Memphis had a 58-56 advantage at the break.
Phoenix took an early lead, but Memphis erased the margin and
pulled away with an 18-2 run in the opening period for its first
double-digit advantage. Phoenix connected on only two of its final
11 shots in the first quarter as Memphis built the lead.
The Suns used their defense to key a 20-5 run in the second
Mayo had five points in the final minute of the second quarter
to give the Grizzlies the lead at the break.
"Even though we jumped out on them, they figured a way to play
against us, and that was playing the zone," Memphis coach Lionel
Hollins said. "It neutralized us in the first half. We came back
in the second half, and we attacked the zone differently."
The game remained close through much of the third quarter.
Memphis was able to get the lead back to 10, but the Suns kept
chipping away at the advantage as Nash guided the Suns offense.
Memphis was still able to hold onto the lead - 88-86 - entering
the fourth, with Gay scoring a dozen points in the third.
Then, the Grizzlies held onto the lead throughout the bulk of
the fourth quarter, again showing they can play with the best in
the West. The victory left Memphis only a half game out of a
Western Conference playoff spot.
"Before the season, everyone had something negative to say
about our team," Mayo said. "We didn't have enough basketballs to
go around. We wouldn't be able to gel. There's no chemistry. We put
that all behind us.
"Coach Hollins thought this was the perfect team to win
ballgames and take strides for our organization."