Suns can’t hold off Bayless, Grizzlies in fourth
PHOENIX — Some Suns fans made the mistake of disrespecting Jerryd Bayless’ Phoenix roots.
He made regret their words.
The Memphis guard came off the bench to score 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Grizzlies to a 99-91 win over Phoenix on Thursday night. The Grizzlies overcame 33 points from Suns guard Goran Dragic to improve to 14-17.
Bayless was born and raised in Phoenix, played high school ball just north of the US Airways Center and played in college at Arizona. He helped the Grizzlies recover from the Suns’ 18-0 third-quarter run, giving Memphis a 94-84 lead on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to play.
"Well, some guys on the sidelines said that I disgraced St. Mary’s (high school)," Bayless said. "That kind of hurt my feelings and that got me going a little bit."
Zach Randolph had 20 points and 15 rebounds in helping the Grizzlies cool the Suns for a night, the second win for the visitors in two meetings between the teams this season. Ed Davis added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Dragic scored 15 of his points during the Suns’ big third quarter. Dragic added seven assists and finished with a career high in points on the night the Suns gave away thousands of bobbleheads bearing his likeness.
The Suns (19-12) couldn’t fight off the Grizzlies, who scored seven straight points to regain the lead after trailing by four to start the final quarter. Bayless fueled the run with a 3-pointer and jumper to give the Grizzlies an 80-75 lead with 9:31 left to play.
"It was their bench that killed us again," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "These guys, if they don’t think that Ed Davis and Bayless are good players, they’re crazy."
Dragic drilled a 3-pointer after a layup by Davis and hit another after a layup by James Johnson to pull Phoenix within 84-81, but the Suns never got the lead back.
"Memphis is not a good matchup for us," Dragic said. "They have a lot of big guys under the rim and they attack the paint."
The Suns led 26-22 after one quarter, but struggled with their shooting in the second, when they made just 6 of 23 from the floor.
Memphis took a five-point lead on a driving layup from Mike Conley with 7:26 to play in the quarter. Then Conley flipped a no-look pass behind his back to Davis for the assist on a basket and a 38-31 lead.
The Suns cut the lead to 46-41 on a dunk from Markieff Morris with 2:20 left in the half, but the Grizzlies scored the next seven points and took a 53-41 lead into the break.
Randolph, who didn’t play in the first meeting between the teams this season in Tennessee, led Memphis with 14 first-half points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Suns missed nine of 11 3-point attempts in the first half.
The Suns’ 41 first half points was one away from their season low of 40 last week at Golden State.
It didn’t take long, however, for Phoenix to get back into the game. The Suns scored 16 unanswered points over a three-minute span in the third quarter, including Dragic’s step-back jumper that gave them a 58-57 lead.
The Suns’ scoring streak reached 18 straight points on P.J. Tucker’s layup with 6:12 left in the quarter that gave them a 62-57 lead.
Memphis finally broke the run with Conley’s two free throws at the 5:43 mark.
"We weathered the storm," Randolph said. "When J.B. (Bayless) hits shots like that it opens up for us. We can play in the paint."
The Grizzlies outrebounded the Suns 59-40 and were more physical throughout the game.
Channing Frye scored eight of his 14 points in the game in the third quarter.