Grizzliies Burn Suns for 9th Straight Home Win - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Grizzliies Burn Suns for 9th Straight Home Win

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

it."

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

history.

"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

stops."

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

quarter.

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."

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