NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 2nd (All times Eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (13-17) at Phoenix Suns (19-11), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns will distribute Goran Dragic bobblehead figurines to fans Thursday when the Memphis Grizzlies pay a visit to US Airways Center.
Dragic leads the Suns in scoring (18.4 points) and assists (5.9) and is averaging 19.6 points and 5.0 assists in his last 10 games. He posted 26 points, eight assists and five steals in Monday's 107-88 road beating of the Los Angeles Clippers and was one of five players in double figures.
"Our job was to come out strong and force them to play our rhythm," Dragic said afterward.
Gerald Green had 21 points off the bench, P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye scored 12 points apiece and Markieff Morris ended with 11 and 12 boards for the Suns, winners in two straight, five of six and 10 of their last 12 games. The Suns opened the game on a 9-0 run and had a 21-point lead at halftime.
Los Angeles never threatened in the second half.
"They were so much tougher than us," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of the Suns. "They played their game and we didn't play ours. They were a lot tougher and we had no fight back tonight."
Phoenix is only a game behind the Clippers for the Pacific lead and is averaging 107.6 ppg in the last 12 games. The recent 19-point win was the largest for the Suns on the road against a team at least 10 games above .500 since April 14, 2007, when the they prevailed 126-98 at Utah.
The Suns will also welcome Milwaukee to town on this brief homestand and have won three in a row in the desert. They are 11-4 as the host and have won 14 in a row when scoring at least 110 points at home.
Memphis will play its next three games on the road against Phoenix, Denver and Detroit, and is 6-6 away from Beale Street this season.
The Grizzlies had won three of four games until a 95-91 loss to Chicago dropped them to 3-7 in the last 10 games. Mike Conley scored 26 points to go along with nine assists, six rebounds and a season-high six steals, while James Johnson provided 13 points and 10 boards.
Tony Allen had 13 points as well and Zach Randolph collected 10 points and 10 rebounds for his 15th double-double in the past 21 games. Turnovers were the difference for the Grizzlies, who had tied a franchise record with three straight games of single-digit turnovers and had a season-high 21 miscues versus Chicago, leading to 28 points.
"They bottled us up, especially with their size," Memphis head coach Dave Joerger said.
Chicago also turned the ball over 21 times for 24 Memphis points.
Memphis defeated Phoenix, 110-91, in the first meeting between the teams on Dec. 3 at FedExForum, as Conley notched 18 points and 14 assists. The Grizzlies have won four of the previous six encounters with the Suns, but are only 5-16 over the last 21 games at Phoenix.
01/02 10:23:17 ET