For the first time in a while the Grindhouse felt like the Grindhouse as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Phoenix Suns 104-99. Mike Conley would be the MVP of the night as he tied a career-high 31 points. The Grizzlies are now 3-0 against the Suns, making it the first time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have beaten Phoenix three times in the same season.
Coach Dave Joerger said at the beginning of the season that he expects a big year out of Conley and so far he has been correct. This would be the second night in a row for Conley to have 30 points or more. He is the first Grizzlies player to post back-to-back 30 point games since Rudy Gay back in 2010. I’ve been praying for the longest time that he gets the chance to make the All-Star team and right now this is his best year so far to do that.
“I was really proud of his heart and all of our guys with the amount of effort that we played,” Joerger said on his team’s performance.
Other key players for the win against Phoenix were Ed Davis and Zach Randolph. Randolph had his thirteenth 20-point, 10-rebound game of the season with 20 points (9-of-21 FG) and 13 rebounds. Davis came off the bench to post a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
It was a very slow start for the Grizzlies as they trailed by ten in the 3rd Quarter. The Suns proved that they are very good team having shot 36.7% (11-of-30) from 3-point range. They were also able to contain Zach Randolph really well in the first half as he struggled in the paint.
Goran Dragic, or as Grizzlies fans know him as a Grizz killer, had a team-high 21 points (6-of-10 FG) to go with eight assists and three rebounds. Dragic had to earn those 21 points the hard way as Conley tended to frustrate him throughout the game. I asked Conley on what their game plan was for him.
“We wanted to put pressure on him not so much with our defense but offensively just to attack him and make him work opposite end and try to wear him down cause he plays a lot of minutes for them,” Conley on facing Dragic.
Trailing by two (88-86) with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, Mike Conley connected on a 20-foot jump shot to tie the game and break a two-and-a-half minute scoring drought by both teams. Conley’s basket sparked a 12-4 Memphis run to give the Grizzlies a six-point lead (98-92) with 1:18 left in the game. Conley accounted for all of Memphis’ points during the run (scoring seven points and assisting on an Ed Davis jump shot and a James Johnson three-pointer.
“He sees every possible defensive rotation. He picks them apart. If you get up and try to trap him, he is quick enough and sees it before it happens. He is just a very alert point guard. He has his head up. He sees everything that’s going on out there. That is why he is one of the best guards in the league,” Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek on Conley.
This was a great all-around win for this Grizzlies team. It was a grit-and-grind style of basketball again. This team fought back to make a run in the fourth quarter and continued to make great plays and make key shots against a very good Phoenix Suns team. This Grizzlies team is finding ways to come back and win and hopefully this can bring some momentum to this team when Marc Gasol comes back.