One more feat for the Grizzlies! On the occasion of the reception of Phoenix, Taylor Jenkins found himself deprived of a nice five major: Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr and Steven Adams! But even in these conditions, Memphis found a way to stand up to the best record in the league, and even to snatch victory!
The Grizzlies started with a bang, betting on the aggressiveness of Dillon Brooks to make the difference (15-3). The Payne-Johnson-Craig trio made it possible to pick up with an 11-2 at the start of the second quarter and Phoenix resisted until the break (54-50), before equalizing on a basket of Deandre Ayton then passed in front on a dunk in transition from Mikal Bridges (62-64).
Each team tried to gain the upper hand at the end of the third quarter, between the Payne-Booker-Shamet triplet on the Suns side, and the Melton-Williams-Brooks-Clarke quartet on the other (84-83).
It was finally on a 13-0, started by a dunk from Xavier Tillman and concluded by two baskets from John Konchar that Memphis managed to force the decision. Despite the efforts of Mikal Bridges and Devin Booker, who chained the baskets in the last moments of the game to bring his team to two possessions and finish at 41 points, the Grizzlies held on until the end to win 122-114 , between Dillon Brooks’ 2+1 and De’Anthony Melton’s six throws to finish the job.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Unpredictable Grizzlies. Where to classify this new big blow of Memphis among those recently accomplished? Even if they are guaranteed to finish first, the Suns did not come as “sparring partners”. On the other side, despite a slew of absentees, the Grizzlies still managed to get by with a 7th straight win. The two best teams in the West will perhaps meet in the playoffs in the coming weeks to do battle again.
– “Next man up”. Memphis has shown its ability to make the most of its entire workforce to compensate for the absence of major players, as was the case last night. On this match won with authority, we will remember the contribution of the bench, the Konchar-Aldama-Clarke trio (14, 12 and 11 points) precisely. The three of them have been more productive than the Suns’ five-point rotations.
– No historic record for Phoenix. The Suns needed to win their last four away games to clinch the single-handed regular-season away win record. This 7th loss puts an end to those dreams, but they can still match the Warriors of 2016.
✅ Dillon Brooks. The rise of the Canadian has been continuous since his return from injury. In the absence of his big five pals, the winger was able to put his team on the right track by starting aggressively. He also responded when Phoenix was threatening with a 2+1 that allowed his side to finish well.
✅ Devin Booker. The All-Star fullback activated rescue mode to try to catch up with the Suns’ bad start and then in the final when he chained the baskets to maintain the suspense. A virtually flawless performance finished at 41 points. He will have missed only the victory.
⛔ Chris Paul. It is not in the habits of the point guard to play with restraint. He however seemed in diesel mode on this match, waiting for the third quarter to register his first basket in the game, being relatively unaggressive in scoring, at 2/6 for 8 points, and despite his 11 assists.
Memphis (55-23): Grizzlies host Utah on Tuesday
Phoenix (62-15): Direction Oklahoma City where the Suns are expected this Sunday