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Valanciunas' huge night helps Grizzlies overcome Booker's 48

PHOENIX (AP) Punished by Devin Booker for three quarters, the Grizzlies turned the tables down the stretch.

Memphis pounded the ball inside to Jonas Valanciunas, who took advantage of a physical mismatch to score 14 of his career-high 34 points in the fourth quarter for a 120-115 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

''I was just doing my thing, going hard and battling in the low post,'' Valanciunas said. ''Playing pick-and-roll with Mike (Conley) is always an advantage for us. I was going hard.''

Conley had 33 points and Valanciunas added 20 rebounds, 11 on the offensive glass, as the Grizzlies worked inside to attack Suns forward Dragan Bender, who was forced to defend the interior when center Deandre Ayton departed with a left ankle sprain late in the third quarter. Backup center Richaun Holmes was out with a migraine.

Booker finished with 48 points, 24 in the first quarter, and fell two points 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 made a 3-pointer for a lead the Grizzlies never lost. 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.

''We were able to get a few stops in a row,'' Conley said. ''They were scoring at will, especially Devin. Luckily we got some misses and we were able to get down on the other end and really execute offensively.''

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 as the Grizzlies threw double-teams at him over the final few minutes. Booker was 19 of 29 from the field and had 11 assists.

''At some point, when a guy has 40-plus points, you have to try to change up coverage on him,'' Conley said. ''We tried to send more and more guys at him and try to make him more of a playmaker down the stretch. He is so capable of taking over a game in the fourth quarter.''

Valanciunas went 16 of 28 from the field and added five assists. Justin Holiday had 14 points and Bruno Caboclo had 12.

Ayton had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost six in a row. He left after rolling his left ankle after contesting Valanciunas' tip-in with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter.

The Suns led by as many as 18 in the first half, when Booker had 28 points.

''When I'm on the court, I'm doing everything possible to lead this group to wins,'' Booker said. ''We're undermanned. Deandre gets hurt, we have Dragan at the 5, so he's playing out of position. They played through the mismatch.''

TIP-INS

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. ... F Josh Jackson had 10 points in his first game back after missing three with a right ankle sprain.

BOOK IT

Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 50 in three straight 10 times, while Elgin Baylor and Michael Jordan did it once apiece.

Kobe Bryant scored 50 in four straight in March 2007, including 65 against Portland. The streak ended when he scored 43 points against Golden State on March 25.

''There is no right way to guard him,'' Bickerstaff said of Booker. ''There's no shot he can't make.''

ELITE EIGHT

The Grizzlies (31-45) will lose their 2019 first-round pick to Boston because of an earlier trade if they do not finish with one of the eight worst records in the league, but Bickerstaff said he is not coaching with that in mind.

''We're going out trying to win basketball games,'' Bickerstaff said. ''Building a foundation, it starts with an expectation of winning. It's hard to turn the page when you just lose and lose and lose. Our message to our guys is, do whatever it takes to win. Go out, play as hard as you can, play as unselfish as you can, and let's build that foundation.''

The Grizzlies are half-game ahead of Washington (31-46) for the eighth-worst record. New Orleans is 32-45. Dallas is 29-46.

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Play at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in the second game of a four-game road trip.

Suns: Host Cleveland on Monday.

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Valanciunas
17 C
D. Booker
1 SG
35.4 Min. Per Game 35.4
26.5 Pts. Per Game 26.5
6.7 Ast. Per Game 6.7
4.2 Reb. Per Game 4.2
56.4 Field Goal % 46.6
56.3 Three Point % 46.2
79.3 Free Throw % 86.3
  Mike Conley missed 2nd of 2 free throws 0:09
+ 1 Mike Conley made 1st of 2 free throws 0:09
  Personal foul on Devin Booker 0:09
  Personal foul on Mikal Bridges 0:23
  Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas 0:32
+ 2 Jonas Valanciunas made floating jump shot, assist by Tyler Dorsey 0:42
  Offensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas 1:17
+ 2 Jonas Valanciunas made layup, assist by Mike Conley 1:40
  PHO team rebound 1:50
  Josh Jackson missed 1st of 2 free throws 1:50
  Shooting foul on Jonas Valanciunas 1:50
Team Stats
Points 120 115
Field Goals 41-89 (46.1%) 43-81 (53.1%)
3-Pointers 8-25 (32.0%) 12-28 (42.9%)
Free Throws 30-40 (75.0%) 17-23 (73.9%)
Total Rebounds 53 49
Offensive 15 7
Defensive 29 33
Team 9 9
Assists 24 27
Steals 15 8
Blocks 6 7
Turnovers 11 19
Fouls 18 26
Technicals 0 0
34 PTS, 20 REB, 5 AST
48 PTS, 3 REB, 11 AST
1234T
away team logo Grizzlies 31-45 23313432120
home team logo Suns 17-60 38243023115
Team Stats
away team logo Grizzlies 31-45 PPG RPG APG
home team logo Suns 17-60 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
J. Valanciunas C PPG RPG APG FG%
D. Booker SG PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
J. Valanciunas C 34 PTS 20 REB 5 AST
D. Booker SG 48 PTS 3 REB 11 AST
46.1 FG% 53.1
32.0 3PT FG% 42.9
75.0 FT% 73.9
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Valanciunas 34 20 5 16/28 0/1 2/2 3 34 2 2 3 11 9 +2 65
M. Conley 33 4 5 10/19 2/6 11/14 3 37 2 0 1 0 4 +20 48
J. Holiday 14 2 0 5/9 2/5 2/2 5 33 2 1 2 1 1 +15 17
B. Caboclo 12 6 2 3/7 2/4 4/6 1 37 1 1 2 0 6 +11 22
T. Dorsey 11 3 5 2/8 1/5 6/7 3 36 1 0 1 0 3 +9 24
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Valanciunas 34 20 5 16/28 0/1 2/2 3 34 2 2 3 11 9 +2 65
M. Conley 33 4 5 10/19 2/6 11/14 3 37 2 0 1 0 4 +20 48
J. Holiday 14 2 0 5/9 2/5 2/2 5 33 2 1 2 1 1 +15 17
B. Caboclo 12 6 2 3/7 2/4 4/6 1 37 1 1 2 0 6 +11 22
T. Dorsey 11 3 5 2/8 1/5 6/7 3 36 1 0 1 0 3 +9 24
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Wright 11 3 3 3/8 1/2 4/6 1 28 5 2 1 1 2 -3 26
I. Rabb 5 5 2 2/6 0/0 1/3 1 13 1 0 0 2 3 +3 15
C. Parsons 0 1 0 0/3 0/1 0/0 0 6 0 0 1 0 1 -11 0
J. Carter 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 -12 0
J. Washburn 0 0 2 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 7 1 0 0 0 0 -9 5
J. Noah - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Bradley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Hannahs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Anderson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Y. Watanabe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Jackson Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Miles - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 120 44 24 41/89 8/25 30/40 18 235 15 6 11 15 29 +25 222
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Booker 48 3 11 19/29 3/6 7/8 3 42 0 0 6 1 2 +1 67
D. Ayton 17 13 1 7/11 0/0 3/4 2 27 0 1 4 3 10 +7 29
M. Bridges 10 4 2 4/10 2/7 0/0 5 31 0 1 1 1 3 -10 18
D. Bender 8 9 2 2/5 2/4 2/2 4 29 2 2 3 1 8 -5 22
D. Melton 2 1 2 1/2 0/0 0/0 2 17 2 2 1 0 1 +6 10
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Booker 48 3 11 19/29 3/6 7/8 3 42 0 0 6 1 2 +1 67
D. Ayton 17 13 1 7/11 0/0 3/4 2 27 0 1 4 3 10 +7 29
M. Bridges 10 4 2 4/10 2/7 0/0 5 31 0 1 1 1 3 -10 18
D. Bender 8 9 2 2/5 2/4 2/2 4 29 2 2 3 1 8 -5 22
D. Melton 2 1 2 1/2 0/0 0/0 2 17 2 2 1 0 1 +6 10
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Jackson 10 4 1 4/9 1/4 1/2 4 30 0 1 1 0 4 -6 16
T. Daniels 9 2 0 3/8 3/5 0/0 2 21 1 0 0 0 2 +2 12
J. Crawford 8 2 8 2/3 1/1 3/5 1 30 1 0 2 0 2 -11 25
E. Okobo 3 2 0 1/2 0/1 1/2 2 7 1 0 0 1 1 -6 6
R. Spalding 0 0 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 -3 0
J. Fredette - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Holmes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. King - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Warren - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Oubre Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 115 40 27 43/81 12/28 17/23 26 235 8 7 19 7 33 -25 205