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Suns battle Grizzlies in crucial late-season game

The Phoenix Suns are peaking at the right time.

The Suns (30-27) have been on fire, streaking to the
fourth-best mark in the NBA since the All-Star Break at
16-7, a mark bettered by only San Antonio, Chicago and

However, Memphis (33-23) has also been playing well,
notching a 14-8 record since the break. One of the teams
will incur a setback Wednesday, though, as Phoenix travels
to the FedExForum in Tennessee looking for a series sweep
after winning both games against the Grizzlies in Phoenix.

Pardon the pun, but the Suns have a good shot, due largely
to the improved play of Shannon Brown.

Brown has flourished in his starting role, scoring in
double figures nine consecutive games. the 26-year-old put
on a show Saturday for his former team, exploding for 24
points on 9-19 shooting, including a blistering 4-8 from
behind the arc in a win over the Lakers. He played well
again the next game, adding 17 points and seven boards in
a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brown’s emergence as a starter has had a positive trickle-
down effect for the rest of the team.

Michael Redd, who has seen his minutes increase since
Brown became a starter, has made the most of his
opportunities. The veteran has broken out recently,
averaging 17.2 points over his last five games, a stretch
that includes a 23-point outburst against the Lakers along
with a 13-point night Monday against the T-Wolves.

Sebastian Telfair and Markieff Morris have also
contributed off the bench for the Suns the last couple

Telfair, a point guard, has scored in double-digits in the
last two games, whereas the rookie Morris shot 4-5 from
the field on the way to 13 points Saturday against the
Lakers before sinking 9-15 from the floor for 21 points in

Unlike the Timberwolves, though, the Grizzlies are playing
good basketball of late, as they’ve won eight of their
last 10 and are currently the five-seed in the Western
Conference, due in large part to the contributions of
stars Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol.

Gay, an athletic forward in his sixth NBA season, is
averaging a team-best 18.4 points to go along with 6.4
rebounds per game this season, while Gasol is grinding out
15.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.