Valanciunas’ huge night helps Grizzlies overcome Booker’s 48
PHOENIX (AP) — Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, Mike Conley added 33 points and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame 48 from Devin Booker to beat the Phoenix Suns 120-115 on Saturday night.
Valanciunas scored 10 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes as the Grizzlies finished on a 16-9 run. They had lost five of seven.
Booker had 24 points in the first quarter and fell two short of becoming the fifth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in three straight games. He had the ball on the final two Suns possessions but was double-teamed and could not get off a shot.
Valanciunas hit two free throws to tie the game at 106 before Conley hit a 3-pointer for a lead the Grizzlies never lost.
Memphis turned to Valanciunas almost every time down the court, taking advantage of a mismatch underneath after Suns center Deandre Ayton left with a left ankle injury late in the third quarter.
Booker made two free throws for a 106-104 lead with 4:50 remaining, giving him 46 points, but he made one more field goal.
Valanciunas went 16 of 28 from the field and added five assists. Justin Holiday had 14 points and Bruno Caboclo had 12.
Booker was 19 or 29 from the field and added 11 assists. He has scored 20 points in the first half in five games this season, the most in the league.
Ayton had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost six in a row.
Grizzlies: The Grizzlies lost the first game of the season series when Booker hit a jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining in the Suns’ 102-100 victory. . For the last two weeks, the Grizzlies have limited their off days to film study, meetings and shootarounds. “Everybody is banged up,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We just wanted to see what we could do to rest their legs as much as possible and help guys recover. It’s more about being fresh and ready for the games.”
Suns: Ayton has a team rookie-record 39 double-doubles, two more than Alvan Adams had in 1975-76. . Booker has scored 25 points in 10 straight games, one short of Amare Stoudemire’s franchise record. ... Reserve C Richaun Holmes (migraine) did not play . F Josh Jackson had 10 points in his first game back after missing three with a right ankle sprain.
Grizzlies: Play at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in the second game of a four-game road trip.
Suns: Host Cleveland on Monday.