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Grizzlies 99, Suns 91

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PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns are running circles around most opponents -- except for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis managed to slow the game at times to a wagon-train pace, and the previously sizzling Suns couldn't respond Thursday as the Grizzlies earned a 99-91 win.

The Grizzlies (14-17) also whipped the Suns in Memphis on Dec. 3. Other than the pair of losses to the Grizzlies, the Suns lost only two other games over the past month.

Forward Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Suns guard Goran Dragic scored a career-high 33 points and added seven assists.

The Suns (19-12) played without guard Eric Bledsoe, who was a late scratch because of a right knee sprain. Gerald Green started in his place and scored nine points.

The lineup change took away the Suns' chief advantage: the ability to play their dual-point-guard backcourt of Bledsoe and Dragic.

The Grizzlies ran up a 57-44 lead early in the third quarter. The Suns then took off on an 18-0 run thanks to a series of driving layups, steals fast breaks, a spurt led by Dragic and forward P.J. Tucker.

The surge gave the Suns a 62-57 lead, and they managed to hold a 73-69 advantage heading into the final quarter.

The Grizzlies went on a 13-2 run to start the fourth, capped by a whirling fast-break layup by forward Ed Davis that gave them an 82-75 lead. Moments later, guard Jerryd Bayless, playing in his hometown, nailed a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a 94-84 lead. The Suns never threatened again.

After the Suns took a 26-22 lead after the first quarter, the Grizzlies battered the Suns in the paint and took a 53-41 halftime lead. Thirty-eight of the Grizzlies' first-half points came in the paint. Meanwhile, the Suns were misfiring from long range, shooting just 2-for-11 on 3-pointers in the first half.

NOTES: After the Suns went 10-3 in December, the NBA selected Jeff Hornacek as the Western Conference's coach of the month. "I take it as a team award," Hornacek said. He became the first person to win coach and player honors for the same franchise. He was named player of the month for the Suns in December 1991. ... The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 110-91 on Dec. 3 in Phoenix. That sent the Suns to a season-worst 9-9. Phoenix won 10 of its next 12 games. ... The Suns came into the game 28-7 all-time vs. the Grizzlies in Phoenix, their best home winning percentage (.800) against any opponent. ... The Grizzlies acknowledge they are different than many teams in the generally high-scoring, up-tempo West. "We are kind of the knuckleball," coach Dave Joerger said. "We are built differently. We have to try to play from a lead." ... The Grizzlies continue to play without injured C Marc Gasol.
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