Skip to content

Goran Dragic’s last-second shot finishes the Grizzlies (VIDEO)

Dec 13, 2012, 1:54 AM EST

PHOENIX — The Suns would have taken a win any way it might have come, after losing seven straight and being faced with the task of taking down a Grizzlies team that has gotten off to a strong start this season, and had just beaten this Phoenix team in Memphis a mere seven days ago.

But winning with defense, by holding the Grizzlies to a season-low 34 second-half points while shooting just 38.2 percent from the field, making only 5-of-22 from three-point distance, and still needing a virtual buzzer-beater to get the job done? No one could have predicted that.

That’s how it played out in Phoenix on Wednesday, with the Suns pulling out an 82-80 win over the Grizzlies to get back on the winning track for the first time in more than two weeks.

“We really needed that win, and it feels great,” Goran Dragic said afterward.

Things began in this one the same way they ended up for the Suns in Memphis. Zach Randolph dominated in the first quarter offensively, largely due to the defensive strategy employed by the Suns, which was to play him straight up and make him beat them as opposed to doubling and allowing wide open looks from beyond the three-point arc.

Randolph had 10 first-quarter points, but finished with just 18. Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said afterward that they changed the defensive strategy on him mid-game by using a zone defense, and that made all the difference.

“We played a zone some,” Gentry said. “But we just weren’t going to run around and spread our defense out to where they could start making three point shots. So if you go back [and look], they only took 10 of them. We were able to guard the three-point line.

“We tried to limit the three-point shooting by just playing Zach straight up. We did that tonight, but we tried to be a lot more active on him, trying not to let him catch the ball and trying to make him work to get the basketball, where he wasn’t just posting up.”

Stopping Randolph was key on a night where only three Memphis players finished in double figures, with Rudy Gay leading the team in shot attempts but connecting on just 7-of-17 from the field.

Still, the game came down to the last couple of possessions. And the Suns were able to finally get a bucket to fall with the game on the line, after suffering through so many failed attempts in similar situations in games past.

The game was tied at 80 with 7.7 seconds remaining, and the Suns had possession. Dragic had the ball at the top of the arc, and made his move almost immediately. After getting the switch that Phoenix wanted on the pick-and-roll, Dragic was able to maneuver around Marc Gasol and flip in the game-winning hook shot at the rim in the game’s final second.

“The play was zipper up for me, and then play pick and roll and take that last shot,” Dragic said. “I saw the open gap on the right side and tried to get past Gasol. He denied that, and I pump-faked him — I don’t know if he jumped, I didn’t see that — but then I just turned around to see that I had an open, easy layup hook, and I made it.”

Gentry admitted the play might not have been executed perfectly, but the one called was what he wanted all along — a high pick and roll, with plenty of options available for his point guard to choose from.

“We wanted to go a high screen-and-roll, we wanted to try to keep the floor open,” Gentry said. “We had a couple of plays that we initially called — we were going to run a play, but then it was going to be a shot right away, and we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to try to use as much of the clock as we possibly could. So we went high screen-and-roll, and Goran just made a great play.”

It was a big win for a Suns team that was desperate for it, but it certainly wasn’t a blueprint for success moving forward. There was a late scoring drought and more lineup fluctuation for a team that has already endured more than its fair share of that in the early part of the season.

But wins have been in short supply in Phoenix recently, so the Suns will take one any way it comes.

Latest Posts
  1. Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard has torn ligament in right hand, return unclear

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EST

    Kawhi Leonard AP

    Leonard was the Finals MVP for San Antonio last season.

  2. Kevin Durant to sit out vs. Lakers with ankle sprain

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    This is the smart move by the Thunder.

  3. Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

    Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 6 Getty Images

    It’s kind of moot now, but it’s not a surprise.

  4. Kobe Bryant says he’s not recruiting Kevin Durant to Lakers. Yet?

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:15 PM EST

    Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant AP

    Lakers star: ‘If the opportunity came up, then that’s the time to have that discussion’

  5. Raptors unveil new logo, get ribbed by Nets’ official Twitter account about it

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Nets v Raptors Eastern Conference Quarter Finals Game 7 Getty Images

    Black-and-white version of Toronto’s new logo looks similar to Brooklyn’s

  6. Report: Minnesota agrees to trade Corey Brewer to Houston

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:56 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    This gives the Rockets a little more depth on the wing with Harden and Ariza.

  7. Kevin Durant (ankle injury) game-time decision vs. Lakers

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Thunder star sprained ankle against Warriors

  8. Report: Mavericks targeting Jermaine O’Neal to replace Brandan Wright

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Sending Wright to the Celtics leaves major hole at backup center

  9. Report: Mavericks “confident” they can re-sign Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

    rondomavs

    Mark Cuban is too smart to pull the trigger on this kind of deal unless he has word he can keep his man.

  10. Report: Hornets pull Lance Stephenson off trade block

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Heat and Nets among teams that showed interest

  11. Mark Cuban finalized Rajon Rondo trade while on set for The Colbert Report finale

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mavericks owner, one of many celebrities singing off Stephen Colbert, had his priorities in line

  12. Carmelo Anthony turning down the Bulls was a blessing in disguise for Chicago

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    The Bulls are better off with their depth and flexibility.

  13. Draymond Green ruins Stephen Curry’s behind-the-back highlight (video)

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:08 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors

    Warriors forward blows dunk, does everything else right in win over Thunder

  14. Mike Malone “surprised” he was fired by Sacramento Kings

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    He will get another shot at being a head coach in the NBA. He deserves it.

  15. Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:01 AM EST

    Rajon Rondo AP

    Rondo moves the Mavs into contender status in the West. Problem is that is a crowded field.

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Favors (7654)
  2. K. Martin (7367)
  3. D. Cousins (6915)
  4. A. Davis (6861)
  5. A. Bogut (6824)
  1. J. Noah (6708)
  2. T. Jones (6654)
  3. C. Bosh (6447)
  4. D. Lee (6434)
  5. T. Parker (6274)