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Grizzlies profit from Suns’ subpar play

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With the playoffs out of reach, the Phoenix Suns are giving their younger players a chance to see more time.

The first outing with that philosophy didn’t go well Friday night, not because of the reserves, but the lackluster play of the Suns starters. And the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been in a youth movement all season, took advantage.

Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo scored 20 points apiece, and the Grizzlies snapped a 10-game losing streak against Phoenix with a 106-89 victory.

“We’re playing to get better,” said Memphis point guard Mike Conley, who scored 17 points. “No matter who we are playing, we’re trying to get the win. I don’t think guys have packed it in for the season.”

The same might not be said for the Suns, who were playing their first game since being eliminated from the playoffs earlier this week. The lack of enthusiasm led 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. Memphis had 19 turnovers and shot 49 percent.

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 points.

In most cases, the Phoenix reserves logged more minutes than the regulars, and by the fourth quarter, Gentry gave the starters the rest of the night off.

“We’re trying to get the young guys some experience,” Richardson said. “We were a little bit careless with the ball, and we have to learn from that.”

Celtics 105, Heat 98: At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, including the go-ahead free throws to lead Boston.

Knicks 105, Magic 95: At Orlando, Fla., Al Harrington scored 27 points, Wilson Chandler had 22 and New York dealt a crushing blow to Orlando’s hopes of getting the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed for the playoffs.

Hawks 122, Pacers 118: At Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 30 points and Joe Johnson had 24 to help the Hawks clinch the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Pistons 100, Nets 93: At Auburn Hills, Mich., ex-Arizona Wildcat Will Bynum scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15 as Detroit clinched a playoff spot.

Thunder 84, Bobcats 81: At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Thunder knocked Charlotte out of playoff contention in the home finale of their first season in Oklahoma City.

Wizards 100, Raptors 98: At Toronto, Caron Butler made a jumper at the buzzer to give Washington a victory.

Mavericks 100, Hornets 92: At Dallas, Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki each scored 25 points and the Mavericks held off a late rally led by Chris Paul and New Orleans.

Spurs 105, Jazz 99: At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 31 points and the Spurs sent the Jazz further back in the playoff race.

Trail Blazers 106, Lakers 98: At Portland, Brandon Roy had 24 points and eight assists, and the Trail Blazers held off the Lakers.

Clippers 109, Kings 78: At Los Angeles, Brian Skinner scored a season-high 21 points and Eric Gordon added 20 for the Clippers.

Rockets 113, Warriors 109: At Oakland, Calif., Dikembe Mutombo had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Houston.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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