Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/16

Game 1: Wednesday, November 16th
Game 2: Saturday, December 17th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 8th

Grizzlies 102

(26-22, 11-14 away)

Suns 108

(32-17, 18-8 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, February 8, 2006

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 21 25 29 27102
    PHX 22 42 27 17108

    Top Performers

    Mem: P. Gasol 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    PHX: S. Marion 21 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Blk

    Suns stay hot, hand Grizz fourth straight loss

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The NBA's highest-scoring team was matched up against the league's best defensive club.

    This time, offense won out.

    Shawn Marion scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Leandro Barbosa had a season-high 24 points, and the Phoenix Suns hung on to beat Memphis 108-102 Wednesday night, handing the Grizzlies their fourth straight loss.

    The victory increased the Suns' Pacific Division lead to two games over the Los Angeles Clippers, who were beaten by the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

    "We had a great first half and a super second quarter, and then we just held on," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said.

    The Suns beat the Grizzlies for the first time in three meetings this season and scored 100 or more points for the 12th straight game.

    Boris Diaw added 18 points for the Suns, James Jones had 16 and All-Star Steve Nash contributed 14 points and 10 assists.

    Bobby Jackson led the Grizzlies with 17 points. Eddie Jones scored 16, Pau Gasol had 15, Antonio Burks scored 12, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and Shane Battier had 10 rebounds and nine points. Memphis has lost five of six games.

    The Suns took command with a season-high 42-point second quarter that included six 3-pointers, two each by Barbosa and Jones, and 11 points by Marion. That padded the Suns' 22-21 lead after one quarter to 64-46 at halftime. During the period, the quick-striking Suns hit 66.7 percent of their shots (16-for-24).

    "We came out of the gate sluggish," Nash said, referring to the 15-5 deficit the Suns faced after the first 5:16. "But then we created a lot of shots for ourselves. This is a great confidence-builder for us, after being down by 10."

    By halftime, Marion had 18 points, Barbosa 14 and Jones and Diaw 11 apiece.

    Phoenix scored the most points against the Grizzlies in any quarter this season.

    Gasol, who scored 11, was the only player in double figures at halftime for the road-weary Grizzlies, who were playing their third straight road game and second in two nights. The Grizzlies are 1-9 in their last 10 road games.

    The Suns continued their torrid shooting in the third quarter, hitting 10 of 18 shots (56 percent), but Eddie Jones wouldn't let Phoenix pull away. He hit three consecutive 3-pointers and finished the period with 11 points as Phoenix led 91-75.

    But the Grizzlies, sparked by Burks, twice whittled the Suns' lead to five points in the final period.

    "It was a rough finish, but we pulled out the win," Marion said. "At the start, we got some good looks, but the shots weren't going down. In the second quarter, we opened up more and got our rhythm going."

    Barbosa's point total was the second-highest of his career and the first time he led the team in scoring since Nov. 10.

    "We were running the floor and that's what coach D'Antoni was looking for tonight," Barbosa said. "Coach has been giving me a lot of minutes, and that makes it easier for me to get into the flow of the game."

    All of Memphis' 27 points in the fourth period came from reserves.

    "He (coach Mike Fratello) put in the guys who would play hard," Jackson said. "We were down by 16 going into the fourth quarter, so he had to try something different. So he went to the bench and we got something going."

    Added Fratello: "I thought the guys in the fourth quarter did a terrifc job of fighting back and being more representative of what we're about than in the second and third quarters. We gave ourselves a chance down the stretch."

    Game notes

    The Grizzlies' Mike Miller injured his left ankle when he fell on a drive by Barbosa with 2.3 seconds left in the third quarter and had to be helped to the dressing room. ... Marion is ranked in the top five in the league in rebounding and steals. If he remains there in both categories at the end of the season, he would become the first player to do it twice. Marion did it last season and David Robinson of San Antonio is the only other player to do it. ... Marion also is only one of three players averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The others are Minnesota's Kevin Garnett and the Los Angeles Clippers' Elton Brand. The last Suns' player to accomplish the feat was Charles Barkley, who did it in each of his four seasons in Phoenix (1992-96). ... In their first meeting in Phoenix on Nov. 16, the Grizzlies beat the Suns 115-103, Phoenix's most lopsided home loss of the season. ... The Suns' previous second-period high this season was 37 points, against the Clippers on Jan. 18. ... Fratello has 638 career victories, tied with Chuck Daly for 17th on the NBA's all-time list.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 108
    FGM-FGA 36-88 (.409) 38-80 (.475)
    3PM-3PA 9-19 (.474) 12-29 (.414)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 20-24 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-41 10-43
    Assists 14 25
    Turnovers 10 16
    Steals 8 3
    Blocks 2 12
    Fast Break Points 13 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 24 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 10 21

    Top Performers

    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 15
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 21
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4