Washington scores 26 as banged-up Suns beat Griz

Washington scores 26 as banged-up Suns beat Griz

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Duane Washington Jr. scored a career-high 26 points and the Phoenix Suns beat the Memphis Grizzlies 125-108 on Tuesday night.

Washington, a two-way guard in his second year out of Ohio State, went 5-for-9 from 3-point range and 10-of-21 from the field overall.

“It felt good, man,” Washington said. “I’ve been working out. I’ve just believed in myself. The coaches believe in me. My teammates believe in me.”

Suns coach Monty Williams praised Washington’s efforts.

“We needed every bit of it tonight,” Williams said. “I thought he gave us a great amount of fluidity. He gave us a little edge on the floor.”

Eight Suns scored in double figures, helping the team stop a three-game skid. Jock Landale scored 16, and Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul finished with 14 points and six assists.

Former Crestwood star Ja Morant led Memphis with 34 points. Desmond Bane was the only other Memphis player in double figures with 14 before Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins cleared his bench midway through the fourth quarter.

“We all have to play better offensively,” Jenkins said. “Me, players. We have to be better.”

The Suns were without several key players. Devin Booker, who is working his way back from a groin injury, lasted more than four minutes in a Christmas Day loss to Denver and sat out against the Grizzlies. Landry Shamet joined Booker, Cameron Payne and Cam Johnson on the injured list.

The Grizzlies have dropped four of five. They beat the Suns 125-100 in Phoenix on Friday night for their only win in this tough matchup.

“We’re having a rough four or five game stretch,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t reach our standards and we played like we’re capable of.”

Washington made three of Phoenix’s 10 3-pointers in the first half, helping the Suns to a 65-49 halftime lead. Memphis made three 3s in the first two quarters.

Morant scored 22 in the third, but two Josh Okogie free throws and a Washington layup made it 97-80 after three.


Suns: Booker is not with the team and Williams would not speculate on his return. “He’s getting more reviews back in Phoenix. He can get the best care there,” Williams said. … With a second-quarter shutout, Mikal Bridges passed Tom Chambers for 18th on the Suns’ franchise list with 215.

Grizzlies: Bane, who was playing his third game back from an extended absence with a sprained thumb, entered the night 2 of 15 from 3-point range and missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. … Jaren Jackson Jr. tied Rudy Gay for fifth on the franchise list in blocks with 420.


The Grizzlies confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the game would go ahead as scheduled. The city is dealing with water pressure issues from a prolonged cold snap with sub-freezing temperatures. About 38,000 of the city’s utility customers had little or no water as of Tuesday. The biggest problem at FedExForum was that there were no fountain drinks at the concession stands, but bottled water and sodas were available.


“It can’t get any worse than this. There is one positive,” Memphis backup center Xavier Tillman said.


Suns: Continue a six-game road trip in Washington against the Wizards on Wednesday.

Grizzlies: Travel to Toronto to face the Raptors on Thursday.

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