Valanciunas scores 30 points, Grizzlies beat Suns 121-114

PHOENIX (AP) — A few bad decisions led to some anxious moments for the Grizzlies in the final minutes. A month or two ago, it all might have ended in a heartbreaking loss.

But Memphis is a team that’s growing up quickly and the final result was a 121-114 victory over the Phoenix Suns last Sunday night. It was the second road win in two days for the Grizzlies and more proof that they might be building something interesting in the Western Conference.

“We’re a young team, we’re building this team for the next five or 10 years with these guys, you know?” guard Dillon Brooks said. “It’s good that we’re getting these games, because we’re going to be in these games a lot.

“At the beginning of the year, we’d get in this predicament and lose. We’re showing growth now.”

Jonas Valanciunas scored 30 points and Brooks added 19, leading the Grizzlies to their fifth win in eight games. Memphis is 10-9 since December 1, 2019.

The Grizzlies led the entire second half and had a comfortable 96-77 advantage after three quarters, but had to fend off a pair of runs by the Suns in the final minutes. Phoenix pulled to 109-101 with under four minutes left, but Brooks made two straight three-pointers from the corner to squash the momentum.

The Suns quickly cut that 14-point deficit to 117-114 with 32 seconds left, but Ja Morant made a pair of free throws to finally put away the game.

“It got a little scary there at the end in the fourth, but we found a way to execute against their pressure and come up with some big stops down the stretch,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 40 points to break the franchise record for consecutive games with at least 30 with six. Charles Barkley and Charlie Scott shared the previous mark.