Booker scores 27, Suns roll past Grizzlies 122-99
By DAVID BRANDT
PHOENIX (AP) Devin Booker scored 27 points, Chris Paul added 18 and the Phoenix Suns rolled to a 122-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
The Suns have won six of their past seven games and bounced back emphatically from a 122-111 loss to Indiana on Saturday. They won the season series against the Grizzlies two games to one.
Suns coach Monty Williams said he could sense a good game was coming.
"You could tell there was a tense-ness about our meeting this morning," Williams explained. "It's what I love about the group. To take that energy and focus and hold a team like that to 99 points. They're a top-10 defense and we hung up 122, which isn't easy to do. The focus was there."
Booker shot 10 of 19 from the field and topped his season average of 25 points per game despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Deandre Ayton added 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, while Jae Crowder scored 14.
Paul shot 9 of 11 from the field and had seven assists. The point guard has been known for his intensity but on this Phoenix team he fits right in with a roster that has many strong personalities, especially Booker and Crowder.
Paul loves how upset the team gets after losses and then responds.
"You show me someone fine with losing and I'll show you a loser," Paul said.
The game was tight for most of the first half but the Suns slowly pulled away in the third period. Crowder rattled home a 3-pointer with a few seconds left to give Phoenix a 96-77 advantage going into the fourth.
Memphis could never close the gap and fell to 17-19 this season. Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Grayson Allen added 15 points off the bench, and Ja Morant also scored 15.
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins thought Phoenix's second unit brought a lot of energy and gave the Suns a boost. The group finished with 41 points.
"Our defense couldn't catch up with them," Jenkins said. "They were playing at a great pace, great speed."
The Grizzlies have lost three straight and four of five.
The Suns scored 36 points in the second quarter to take a 60-52 halftime lead. Booker had 16 points before the break. Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Grizzlies: This is the first of 11 sets of two games in two days in the second half of their schedule. ... Morant didn't score until making two free throws with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter. ... Dillon Brooks added 13 points but had just one assist and no rebounds. He also was called for a technical foul. ... Desmond Bane started but had zero points in 22 minutes.
Suns: F Abdel Nader (knee soreness) and F Cameron Johnson (health and safety protocol) didn't play. ... The last time the teams met, the Suns made a franchise-record 24 3-pointers in a victory. ... Phoenix hit just six of its first 21 shots. ... Williams shook up the second group, using guards Jevon Carter and Langston Galloway in a bigger role. ... The Suns are 18-4 over their past 22 games. ... Phoenix had a 28-15 advantage in assists.
Grizzlies: Return home to face the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Suns: Host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and Friday.
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Updated March 16, 2021