NBA: Suns hang on to defeat Grizzles for third straight win

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Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on January 22, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 112-110. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Mikal Bridges scored 24 points and Chris Paul added 22 in his return from a seven-game absence due to a hip injury, lifting the host Phoenix Suns to a 112-110 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

Paul also posted 11 assists and six rebounds for Phoenix, which nearly squandered a 29-point lead before holding on for its third straight win.

Torrey Craig made 7 of 9 shots from the floor — including a season-high-tying four 3-pointers — to avenge a porous performance in his last game. Craig was held without a point while missing both shots from the floor in the Suns’ 112-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Dario Saric scored 14 points and Jock Landale added 12 for the Suns, who evened the season series at two wins apiece.

Phoenix star Deandre Ayton sat out his second straight game with a non-COVID illness. The Suns also were without All-Star guard Devin Booker (groin), Landry Shamet (foot) and Cameron Payne (foot).

Ja Morant recorded 27 points and eight assists for the Grizzlies, who committed 20 turnovers en route to losing two in a row following their franchise high-tying 11-game winning streak. The win streak began after a 125-108 setback to Phoenix on Dec. 27.

Desmond Bane contributed 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Steven Adams collected 10 points and 16 boards for Memphis.

The Grizzlies whittled a 29-point deficit down to two with 28.6 seconds to play in the fourth quarter before Saric answered by making a pair of free throws. Bane countered with a driving layup to pull Memphis within 112-110 with 7.1 seconds to play, however, it could not net the equalizer.

Phoenix bolted out of the blocks in a hurry, amassing a 32-18 lead after one quarter. Tyus Jones, Craig and Bridges each sank a 3-pointer as the Suns scored 25 of the first 37 points of the second quarter to push their advantage to 57-30 advantage.

The Suns, who held a 62-37 lead at halftime, saw their sizable advantage trimmed to 15 points at the end of the third quarter. Ziaire Williams capped the surge by making a 3-pointer from well beyond his own foul line.

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