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RECAP: Red-Hot Suns jump on Grizzlies early, roll to win

Feb 20, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies center Xavier Tillman (2) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker scored a game-high 23 points, Mikal Bridges was one of three Phoenix players to finish with 19 points, and the visiting Suns routed the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies, 128-97, Saturday.

Despite not scoring for the game’s first 3:43, Phoenix surged ahead by 13 points at the end of the first quarter. Memphis put up little resistance from then on.

The Suns ran to a 31-point halftime lead, holding the Grizzlies to fewer than 20 points in each of the first two quarters. Saturday’s defensively dominant first half followed a fourth quarter in Friday’s win at New Orleans in which Phoenix held the Pelicans to 12 points.

Phoenix’s lead swelled to as many 36 points in the second half, as the Suns took advantage of a dismal 3-point shooting night from the Grizzlies.

Memphis went 5-of-33 from behind the arc, while Phoenix hit 24-of-46. Booker’s 5-of-7 set the pace among the starters, while Bridges and Chris Paul each went 4-of-5 from outside. Paul finished with 16 points and six assists.

Dario Saric came off the bench to knock down 3-of-5 3-pointers and finish with 19 points, while Cameron Payne matched Booker’s 5-of-7 en route to 19 points. Payne also passed for a game-high seven assists.

The win marked Phoenix’s eighth in its last nine games.

Jonas Valanciunas finished with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for Memphis, and Ja Morant added 12 points and five assists.

Playing in the second leg of a back-to-back, Memphis was without three starters from Friday’s win over Detroit: Kyle Anderson, Grayson Allen and Brandon Clarke.

Dillon Brooks, who missed Friday’s contest with a thigh injury, was again scratched from the lineup.

Memphis received some good injury news before tipoff with the activation of Justise Winslow, who missed the previous 25 games this season with a hip injury.

Winslow missed his first nine field-goal attempts and finished with nine points in his season debut. His contribution was part of 51 Memphis bench points, led by Gorgui Dieng’s 15.

–Field Level Media