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Devin Booker puts up 36 points, Suns drop close game to Grizzlies

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, center, handles the ball between Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., right, and guard Dillon Brooks (24) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Memphis Grizzlies hold off the Phoenix Suns 114-109 on Sunday night for their second straight victory.

Playing hours after news that former NBA star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident, the Grizzlies won the opening tip and immediately took a 24-second clock violation.

When the Suns took possession, they stayed in the backcourt for an 8-second violation — the 24 and 8 representing Bryant’s two numbers during his NBA career. As the Memphis crowd rose in appreciation of Bryant, they began chanting “Kobe! Kobe!”

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks finished with 20 points each for Memphis. Kyle Anderson, who had a season-high 12 rebounds, made a two free throws with 11.3 seconds left.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 36 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 27 points, and Deandre Ayton finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Phoenix lost for the third time in four games.

Memphis was able to build the lead to double digits in the third quarter. The Suns put on a burst at the close of the third, pulling to 79-78 with a 17-4 run as the Grizzlies struggled to hold on to the ball, committing nine turnovers in the quarter.

But Morant took over in the fourth. In the final 4:06, with the Suns continuing to threaten the Memphis lead, Morant scored eight of 10 Memphis points and the only one where he didn’t, he assisted on an alley-oop to Brandon Clarke.

The Suns trailed by a single point once and tied the game twice but could never overtake the Grizzlies.

TIP-INS

The Suns played without center Aron Baynes (left hip soreness), forward Cameron Johnson and center forward Frank Kaminsky III (right patella stress fracture).

Booker missed a free throw in the third quarter, ending a string of 39 straight made.

Rubio was 1 of 10 from the field.

The Suns are back in action on the road Tuesday to face the Dallas Mavericks at 6:30 p.m.


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