Suns Strokes: Daniels hits deciding shot against former team for Suns win
PHOENIX– Outshot but not outscored. And in the end, that’s all that matters.
For the third time in four games, the Phoenix Suns landed on the left side of the win-loss column. It’s their best stretch of the season.
Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer with 17.6 seconds left to lift the Suns past the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-95, in front of an announced crowd of 16,339 at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Thursday.
It was the 13th and final lead change of the game.
Acquired from the Grizzlies in the offseason, Daniels made three of the team’s 10 3-pointers. He finished with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
T.J. Warren led all scorers with 27 points as the Suns (12-22) overcame an early 12-point deficit.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well. In fact, they combined to miss 16-of-17 field goal attempts over the final 3:45 of the game.
Daniels’ 3-pointer was the lone made basket.
“It feels great I can tell you that. It feels great,” he said. “I’d rather it be on them than anybody else.”
The Suns shot 33-of-81 from the field (40.7 percent), while the Grizzlies were 39-of-90 (43.3). Perhaps more a product of each team having played the night before.
Tyreke Evans paced Memphis (9-23) with 23 points.
With the win, the Suns snapped a five-game home losing streak and ended a four-game losing streak to the Grizzlies, whom they’ll play again next Tuesday.
Down 12, the Suns closed the first quarter on a 17-4 run, scoring the final 10 points of the period, to take a 26-25 lead, only their second of the game. Daniels led the comeback with six points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Greg Monroe and Warren each added four. Those two finished the quarter with six points apiece. Monroe, starting in place of Tyson Chandler, also had five rebounds in his 10 minutes of court time.
All 11 of Warren’s second-quarter points came in the last five minutes of the period. In fact, aside from a Josh Jackson 3-pointer and Monroe lay-up, Warren had all the Suns points during this stretch. He made all four of his field goal attempts, hitting a 3, a lay-up and a pair of and-1s. Warren was the game’s leading scorer at halftime with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting and four free throws.
It was Monroe who found Daniels open for what proved to be the game-winning shot. It was his season-high seventh assist of the game, after grabbing his 12th rebound. According to Basketball-Reference, Monroe is the first Suns center to have at least seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a game since Amar’e Stoudemire had 36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists against Charlotte on Dec. 10, 2004.
Once again the Suns’ bench came up big. In addition to Daniels’ 14 points, Isaiah Canaan had 10, Alex Len eight, Danuel House Jr. six and Dragan Bender four. That’s a total of 42 points, 16 better than the Grizzlies reserves. All five Suns players to appear off the bench posted a positive plus/minus. And now over the last four games, the Suns’ bench is averaging 51.5 points.
Defense optional. The Suns showed very little resistance at the start, looking very much like they did in L.A. The first 14 Grizzlies points were scored in the paint, including three straight lay-ups by Evans—all against Jackson—to open the contest. That success inside allowed the visitors to take a 21-9 lead at the 4:23 mark. The Grizzlies finished with 18 of their 25 first-quarter points inside the painted area.
A lid on the basket. The Suns went more than five minutes (5:05 to be exact) between made field goals in the third quarter. Warren ended the drought with an 11-foot jump shot at the 4:22 mark of the period. But, by then, the Grizzlies had found their shooting stroke and a short time later capped off a 19-4 run to re-take the lead, 78-75, at the 2:25 mark. Marc Gasol had five points and Evans four during this stretch.
A quarter to forget. The teams combined to score 32 fourth-quarter points with the Grizzlies going for 14, the fewest by a Suns opponent in a fourth period since the Suns held Charlotte to 12 fourth-quarter points in a 120-103 win on March 2, 2017. The teams shot a combined 12-of-43 (27.9 percent) as the difference came down to the Suns outscoring Memphis 5-0 in second chance points in the period.
STAT OF THE GAME
18-8: The Suns were a plus-10 in second chance points, none bigger than Daniels’ go-ahead 3-pointer
HE SAID IT
“It was a struggle all night, really,” interim head coach Jay Triano said, referring to the offense. “From the opening tip, I mean, five of their first baskets were straight on drives to the basket. So, I knew it was going to be a tough night. But, you know, we fought, we kept fighting, the second unit came in and gave us a boost again. And, then it was a matter of trying to find enough, you know, rest to get them back I when the game mattered.”
Daniels is averaging 16.4 points (52.2 FG%, 50.0 3FG%, 100.0 FT%) in his last five games played.
Suns improved to 7-0 when Warren (9-of-15 FG, 8-of-10 FT) scores 25 or more points this season.
Suns have now completed nine of their 15 back-to-back sets, improving to 4-5 in the second game.
Chandler was a DNP-Coach’s Decision as Triano continues to juggle a three-man center rotation.
Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, Davon Reed and Alan Williams were listed inactive due to injury.
Mike Conley missed his 18th straight game with a sore left Achilles; he’s been out since Nov. 15.
Former Suns player Grant Hill was among those in attendance; he watched the game from a suite.
After a day off, the Suns will be back in action, hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Dec. 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the teams with the Suns looking to win the season series for the first time since 2014-15.
The Suns earned the victory in the most recent matchup, 108-106. The bench scored 69 points to help erase a 15-point deficit on Dec. 16 in Minnesota.
Overall, the Suns have won 20 of the last 32 games in the series.
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