Balanced attack powers Suns past Grizzlies

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns are making a habit of rallying from big deficits.

Jared Dudley scored 19 points to lead six Phoenix players in double figures and the Suns came back from 11 points down in the first half to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 98-91 on Saturday night.

It was Phoenix's fifth straight home win and the Suns' fifth straight overall in which they won after trailing by double digits.

"I think we're adjusting as the game goes along and finding ways to get ourselves going and usually someone gives us a lift," Phoenix's Steve Nash said.

Marcin Gortat added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, Grant Hill had 14 points, Steve Nash and Robin Lopez scored 11 each, and Channing Frye had 10. Nash also had 15 assists. Phoenix's home winning streak is its longest since winning the final eight home games of the 2009-10 season.

"We start slow because of our age (the Suns are one of the NBA's oldest teams) and maybe because a lack of focus," Gortat said.

Marc Gasol had 21 points and Rudy Gay scored 19 on 7-for-20 shooting for Memphis. The surprising Grizzlies, one of the top teams in the Western Conference, were 4-0 since the All-Star break and had won five straight overall.

The Grizzlies were outrebounded 52-35, including 17-9 on offensive boards. Memphis was 15 for 19 on free throws, while Phoenix was 12 for 15.

"We gave up 17 offensive rebounds and we did not get to the free throw line (enough)," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.

Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry was pleased with his team's performance.

"That one felt real good," he said. "We beat a really good team that probably is playing as well as anyone in the league right now. The big thing that makes me the happiest is we are doing it on the defensive end."

As it is, the Suns are enjoying one of their best defensive showings in years.

"They started making shots in that second quarter," Memphis' Mike Conley said. "They started getting into their flow. I think we played at their pace a little too much in that second quarter and going on to the second half. They were able to control the tempo and beat us down the court."

The Suns didn't lead in the first half until the closing minute when Dudley capped a personal 9-0 run with a 3-pointer -- Phoenix's first 3 of the game- for a 51-48 advantage. Gay came back with a 3 of his own, tying the score, before Robin Lopez gave Phoenix a 53-51 halftime lead with a layup with 4.6 seconds left.

Memphis controlled the game early, twice opening 11-point leads in the second quarter. The Grizzlies, playing a more uptempo game since Zach Randolph went out with a torn ligament four games into the season, were running their fastbreak efficiently and capitalizing on 10 Suns turnovers, which resulted in 13 points.

In addition, Gasol was scoring from all angles, finishing the half with 14 points, and Conley was playing almost as well as his heralded counterpart in Nash. Conley had eight assists in the first two periods, while Nash, the league leader, had 10.

With Dudley continuing his strong shooting with four more field goals in the third quarter, the Suns extended their lead at the end of the period to 80-74. The Suns were also winnning the rebounding matchup, 38-21 at that point.

Game notes
Conley leads the league in steals and could become the first Memphis player to lead the NBA in a statistical category. ... The Suns' starting lineup of Nash, Dudley, Gortat, Hill, Dudley and Frye began the game with a plus-155 rating when playing together -- the best in the NBA. ... The Grizzlies lead the league in steals and turnovers forced, after leading in both categories last season. ... The Suns are holding opponents to fewer than 100 points per game; the last time they did that was the 2003-04 season.


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