Not too long ago, the Phoenix Suns were searching for some confidence. They’ve quickly found it.
The Suns begin a four-game road trip after one of their best performances of the season when they meet the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
Phoenix (55-18) had dropped four of seven games entering Friday’s contest against Denver, and fell behind by as many as 18 points before rallying for a convincing 125-108 victory.
The Suns carried that momentum into an impressive 126-104 win over NBA-leading Dallas on Sunday, joining Golden State as the only teams to beat the Mavericks twice this season.
“That’s about as good as we can play,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Phoenix used a near-perfect shooting performance in the fourth quarter to pull away, making 13-of-15 shots. The Suns shot just under 65 percent for the game—a season best—as they became the first team to shoot higher than 60 against the Mavericks this season.
“When we play well, no one is going to defend us well,” two-time reigning league MVP Steve Nash said. “Tonight we did a good job offensively of making plays because we did have a relatively hot hand, and defensively we played with energy and they couldn’t keep up in that respect. This was one of those games where we were close to our best.”
The Suns demonstrated their balanced attack in emphatic fashion. Nash and backcourt mate Leandro Barbosa combined for 52 points, while Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion combined to make 18-of-23 shots for 44 points.
“Tonight we did it all,” Marion said. “We were active and aggressive on both ends. We defended well, and we were running the ball well. Guys pushed the ball and got in the passing lanes.”
Marion scored 20 points two days after he had 33 in the victory over Denver. He averaged only 11.8 points in his 12 previous games after missing two contests due to a bruised right hand.
The Suns are still trying to lock up the second-best record in the NBA. They lead San Antonio by three games with nine left for both teams, and visit the Spurs on Thursday.
Phoenix is poised to complete a four-game sweep of Memphis (19-56) this season. The league-worst Grizzlies are allowing opponents to shoot an NBA-high 48.6 percent and shouldn’t pose much of a threat against the top-scoring team in the NBA.
Stoudemire has been virtually unstoppable against the Grizzlies this season, averaging 31.3 points on unbelievable 71.2 percent shooting. Nash has been content to hand out an average of 11.0 assists while scoring only 11.3 points in those contests.
The Grizzlies are on pace for their fourth 60-loss season, and first in Memphis, since the franchise joined the league in Vancouver in 1995.
They completed a 2-4 road trip with a 122-117 loss to Golden State on Sunday. Memphis held a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but allowed the Warriors to make 16 3-pointers in the game.
The Grizzlies are last in the league in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot 39.0 percent.
“They made plays when they needed to offensively and defensively and they came up with some stops,” Memphis forward Pau Gasol said. “They were very aggressive down the stretch and played with a lot of confidence making a lot of tough shots. They definitely made a lot of 3s when they most needed to when we had that lead.”