Thursday , Apr , 28 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Suns survive for 2-0 lead on Memphis

=== Suns survive for 2-0 lead on Memphis ===

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Amare Stoudemire finished with 34 points and 10
rebounds and Shawn Marion added 22 points and 13 boards, as the Phoenix Suns
edged the Memphis Grizzlies, 108-103, in Game 2 of the Western Conference
quarterfinals at America West Arena.

The Suns grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series after winning the
opener by a 114-103 margin. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday in Memphis.

“I was just using my quickness to try and get to the line more,” said
Stoudemire, whose 22 free-throw attempts tied a franchise playoff record.

Steve Nash recorded 12 points and 15 assists for the Suns, who are ahead 2-0
in a playoff series for the first time since 1995 when they led Houston by
that spread in the conference semifinals. However, Phoenix went on to lose
that series in seven games.

Joe Johnson posted 20 points and eight rebounds in the victory, while Quentin
Richardson chipped in 15 points.

Pau Gasol had a huge game for Memphis, scoring 28 points and grabbing 16
rebounds. Yet, the Grizzlies are still winless in the postseason, as they
dropped to 0-6 all-time. The franchise made its first appearance in the
playoffs last year and was promptly swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

“We just have to learn from some of the mistakes we made,” said Gasol. “But
now we have to go back to Memphis pumped up.”

Jason Williams netted 21 points for Memphis, Brian Cardinal scored 13 and
Lorenzen Wright added 12.

Memphis held a 99-94 lead after Gasol’s bucket with 4:18 left, but a
Richardson three-pointer and Marion’s jumper made it 99-99 with 3:25 left.

Marion added another bucket with 2:50 remaining to give Phoenix the lead for
good. That basket would also be the last field goal of the game until MIke
Miller hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left.

James Posey made 1-of-2 free throws to cut the deficit to 103-100 with 1:46
left. The score would remain that way until Richardson hit 1-of-2 from the
line with 15 seconds remaining. Miller hit his three-pointer five seconds
later to make it a one-point game. However, Nash hit two from the line to make
it 106-103 and Miller missed on a chance to tie it. Richardson then sealed the
win by hitting a pair from the line with 5.7 left.

The Suns led 60-54 at the half and Stoudemire scored the first four points of
the third quarter to give Phoenix the first double-digit lead of the game.

Memphis still trailed 68-60 when it used an 11-3 burst to even the score at
71-71. Gasol hit back-to-back buckets to kickstart the run and Williams
drilled a three-pointer to knot the game with 4:37 left. However, the
Grizzlies were never able to grab the lead in the third quarter and Phoenix
held an 82-77 edge after 36 minutes.

A 7-2 run to begin the fourth quarter allowed the Grizzlies to even the score
at 84-84. Memphis would then take its first lead since late in the second
quarter when Gasol’s dunk made it 90-88 with 6:35 remaining.

Neither team would lead by more than five points the rest of the way.

The Grizzlies started the game on a 9-2 run, but Phoenix charged back and cut
the deficit to 14-12 after Stoudemire’s dunk with 7:05 left in the first
quarter. Memphis would hold a slim lead for the rest of the period and take a
31-29 advantage into the second quarter.

The Suns trailed 44-39 around the midway point of the second quarter, but
closed the period on a 21-10 run. Marion scored 11 points in the run and his
three-pointer snapped a 50-50 tie with 1:51 remaining. Richardson also hit a
shot from beyond the arc to give Phoenix a 60-51 lead with 13 seconds left,
but Battier drilled a trey of his own to cut the deficit to six at halftime.

Stoudemire had 16 points at the break for Phoenix, while Johnson and Marion
added 13 apiece. Williams led the Grizzlies with 13 points and Gasol chipped
in 10.