A night after being embarrassed 109-71 by the Portland Trail Blazers just a night before, the Phoenix Suns returned home to US Airways Center in Phoenix and recovered nicely. They built up a 16-point halftime lead and held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 86-84, as Jared Dudley hit two free throws with 3.3 second remaining in the game.
The games started with lineup changes. Coach Alvin Gentry went back to the starting lineup that he called upon to start the season, with Channing Frye and Jared Dudley starting instead of rookie Markieff Morris and Ronnie Price.
The energy for the Suns was there early like against Portland and they got out to a 24-16 lead. They even scored 12 straight at one point. With Dudley and Frye starting, the shooting was not fixed.
The lead was built up 16 by halftime.
The second half made things close, as Memphis fought back.
The story of the game was the play of Dudley and Steve Nash. Nash set the time early by scoring early. He finished with only six assists in the game, but scored 21 points. Dudley was reinvigorated having been put back in the starting lineup. He played 42 minutes, scored 20 points, grabbed six boards, had four assists and three steals. More importantly, he was playing with the energy that got him his five-year contract before last season.
Channing Frye's return to the starting lineup did not help him. He shot 1-9 in just under 14 minutes. However, Markieff Morris had his best game in quite some time. Perhaps more relaxed coming off teh bench, he played a physical 20 minutes. He picked up five fouls, but had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Center Marcin Gortat returned to the land of double-doubles with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
As a team, they shot only 37 percent and still pulled out a win. Memphis tied the scored with 20 seconds left, and the Suns played for the final shot. Jared Dudley was fouled by Mike Conley driving to the basket and hit his two free throws to give the Suns the lead with 3.3 seconds left.
For Memphis, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay each scored 18, and Mike Conley scored 15. Gasol also grabbed 13 boards.
The win improves the Suns' record to 7-12. They face the Dallas Mavericks next at home on Monday night.
One negative comes from the win. In the final play of the game, Steve Nash collided with Gasol and took a knee to his left leg. He left the court limping, but we have not learned more. When we do, we will let you know.