It was quite a run for the Phoenix Suns this season, but all good things must come to an end. The Cinderella story in the NBA this season was eliminated from playoff contention, as the Suns lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 97-91 on Monday night.
The Grizzlies did what they do best in the win: pound the ball inside and score in the post. Big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 50 points and 17 rebounds. The pair also shot well from the field, going 22-of-38 on field goals overall.
The inside presence of the Grizzlies was simply too overwhelming for the Suns. Phoenix was out rebounded by 12 overall on the boards (42 rebounds for the Grizzlies compared to 30 for the Suns). Not only were the Grizzlies dominant rebounding the ball on both ends, but their defense also suffocated the Suns to the point where they just could not get many good looks down the stretch. The Suns’ players had to make difficult shots against the Memphis defense, but missed a lot of shots in the process, only shooting 19.2 percent from deep. The Grizzlies are able to play an overwhelming style of defense, and it most certainly rattled Phoenix’s young players.
The Grizzlies now control their own destiny, as they can move up to the No. 7 seed in the playoffs with a win over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.
Regardless of what happens in that game, the Grizzlies are no fringe playoff team to be taken lightly. Randolph and Gasol pose serious problems in the post for any team going up against them, and the past few games Memphis’ shooters have stepped it up, including Mike Conley, Courtney Lee and Mike Miller.
If Memphis can continue to man the inside-outside balanced attack and take care of the ball, as well as continue to play the defense they are known for, then there will not be a team out there that wants to face the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.
Western Conference, you have been warned.