- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo scored 20 points apiece, and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Phoenix Suns with a 106-89 victory Friday night.

The lackluster performance by the Suns came in their first game since being eliminated from the playoffs earlier this week. There seemed to be little enthusiasm from the Suns, leading to their lowest-scoring effort since Alvin Gentry took over as interim coach on Feb. 16.

While shooting 47 percent, Phoenix committed 22 turnovers, only three short of its season high.

Mike Conley scored 17 points. Hakim Warrick had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Marc Gasol finished with 14 points.

Jason Richardson and Louis Amundson led the Suns with 13 points apiece, the only Phoenix players in double figures. Starters Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Nash and Matt Barnes finished with nine.

By the fourth quarter, Gentry decided to give the starters the rest of the night off. Phoenix cut into a lead that reached 21 early in the fourth, but couldn’t get closer than 13.

The game featured the league’s top scoring team in the Suns, with a 107.6 average, against a Grizzlies team that is the NBA’s lowest at 99.4 per game. But it was the Grizzlies who ran away with the victory.

Both teams were willing to keep a running pace, but that also translated into sloppy play. Turnovers were followed by turnovers in some sequences, players missed breakaway layups and jumpers were off the mark.

By halftime, the turnovers had grown to 13 for the Suns and 11 for Memphis. The Grizzlies took a 55-47 advantage to the locker room, controlling the boards 26-16. The Grizzlies would end the game outrebounding the Suns 45-37.

Mayo had 13 for Memphis in the first half, while Gay had recorded 10 points. No Suns were in double figures at the break although Phoenix was shooting 53 percent.

The misplays continued for the Suns as O’Neal even missed a dunk in the early stages of the second half. Meanwhile, Memphis converted from 3-point range to extend the lead to as many as 17 before carrying an 84-68 lead into the fourth.

Conley had 13 in the third, missing only one of his six shots in the period, and Memphis was on its way to snapping a two-game losing streak. It also was Memphis’ largest margin of victory ever over Phoenix.

Notes:@ The Grizzlies had not beaten the Suns since Dec. 17, 2005. The victory gave the Grizzlies 23 wins, including 15 at home, surpassing the totals in both categories in each of the previous two years. Suns F Grant Hill is the only Phoenix player to appear in all 79 games this season. If Hill can play in the final three, it would mark the first time in his 14 seasons that he has not missed a game. There was some pregame talk about a trade deadline deal that was discussed between the Suns and Grizzlies that never took place. According to The Commercial Appeal, the Suns were going to send Amare Stoudemire to Memphis for the core of the Grizzlies’ youth movement _ starting forward Gay, point guard Conley, and sixth man Warrick. Oh, and a first-round draft pick. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was against the deal. “You can make a trade like that, and it looks good on the surface,” Hollins said, “but we’re not a winning team. So, you’re trading your core nucleus for one player, whos probably not taking you over the hump.” With his third rebound of the game in the third quarter, O’Neal moved past Charles Barkley for 15th place on the all-time list for rebounds. O’Neal had only three rebounds in the game, leaving him at 12,547. Next on the list is former St. Louis Hawks star Bob Pettit with 12,849.

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