Late Collapse Dooms Grizz vs Suns on 4th Game in 5 Nights - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Late Collapse Dooms Grizz vs Suns on 4th Game in 5 Nights

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Leandro Barbosa scored 28 points,

Shaquille O'Neal added 24 to move into eighth place on the NBA

scoring list and the Phoenix Suns beat the Memphis Grizzlies 101-89

Tuesday night without ailing star Steve Nash.

The two-time MVP sat out with back spasms, but Barbosa filled in

admirably. He connected on 10 of 18 shots and scored 22 points in

the second half.

Phoenix also overcame the loss of big man Amare Stoudemire,

ejected in the second quarter after his second technical.

O'Neal had 13 rebounds and three blocks, and his fourth-quarter

dunk moved him past Oscar Robertson on the career scoring list with

26,711 points. O'Neal was 8-of-13 from the field and missed only

two of his 10 free throws.

Grant Hill had 15 points for the Suns, and Louis Amundson scored

10 off the bench.

Hakim Warrick led Memphis with 25 points, while Marc Gasol

finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Rudy Gay had 14 points and

O.J. Mayo scored 12, but he missed 16 of 20 shots - including his

last 13.

Memphis fell apart down the stretch, hitting only three of 18

shots in the fourth quarter, including misfiring on its final seven

from the field.

The Grizzlies held an eight-point lead in the fourth, but that

was erased by nine unanswered Phoenix points, eight of them by

Barbosa on a pair of 3-pointers and a layup for the Suns' first

lead since the early stages. From there, Memphis' inaccuracy from

the field allowed the Suns to extend the lead to double digits.

O'Neal was perfect on his first four shots from the field and

his first four free throws. That kept the Suns within striking

distance as Memphis led by nine in the first half.

The Suns had the bulk to overpower Memphis inside with O'Neal

and Stoudemire. Memphis was limited because Darko Milicic was out

with a broken right hand, and in the first quarter rookie Darrell

Arthur took an elbow to the face, sending him to the bench for the

night with a concussion. Memphis even used Hamed Haddadi, the

7-foot-2 rookie from Iran who saw his first action of the season.

The Suns' inside dominance was evident with a 36-16 advantage in

the paint in the first half, including 16 points from O'Neal.

Phoenix ended the night with a 58-18 edge in the paint.

But the Suns' size advantage was offset somewhat in the second

when Stoudemire was ejected with two technicals.

Stoudemire disagreed with the call that gave him his third foul.

He expressed his displeasure to official Bill Kennedy, drawing his

first technical. Stoudemire then added more colorful language,

drawing another technical from Kennedy and sending Stoudemire to

the locker room for the night.

He left with only eight points, the first time this season

Stoudemire has not reached double figures.

Memphis held a 49-46 lead at halftime. Mayo led the way with all

12 of his points. The Suns were hindered by shooting 43 percent and

committing 11 turnovers.

Phoenix pulled even at 65 just past the midway point of the

third on Hill's three-point play. Memphis countered with nine

unanswered points, capped by a 3-pointer by Quinton Ross, to match

its biggest lead.

That allowed Memphis to close the quarter with a 13-5 surge and

carry a 78-70 lead into the fourth. Warrick had 10 in the quarter,

while Barbosa scored 11 for the Suns.

Notes: The Grizzlies expected G Steve Francis, obtained in a

Christmas Eve trade with Houston, to be ready for Monday night's

game, but flight problems to Memphis delayed his arrival until

later in the week. ... Nash missed only his fourth game of the

season, and the first with back problems. Barbosa's start was his

second of the season. The Grizzlies had lost their two previous

games in overtime, 106-103 in double OT at San Antonio and 108-98

in Minnesota on Monday night. The Grizzlies have lost 10 straight

in the series, with their last win over the Suns coming Dec. 17,

2005. Next on the career scoring list for O'Neal is Hakeem

Olajuwon, who has 26,946 points. O'Neal's 24 points Tuesday night

gave him 26,715.

The Grizzlies take New Years' Eve off..

They get back in action against the Southwest Division leading San Antonio Spurs Friday Night at FedExForum.

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