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Gasol comes through as Grizzlies defeat Suns in double-OT

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This season, the Memphis Grizzlies have benefitted from a more assertive Marc Gasol as the 7-1 center has lifted his scoring average to almost 20 points a game. But for most of Sunday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Gasol was a non-factor.

Through regulation and the first overtime, Gasol scored just five points. Then in the second overtime, Gasol scored the first seven points as the Grizzlies pulled away to a 122-110 victory at FedExForum.

The difference?

“It started going in,” Gasol said of his shot.

“Early on he wasn’t as aggressive. Finally it clicked and he started calling his own number,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (25 points) said of Gasol’s play in the second overtime.

Gasol finished with 12 points and nine rebounds on 5-for-14 shooting but was 3-for-4 in the second overtime and also had two blocks and two rebounds in the period.

“We rode him,” shooting guard Courtney Lee (18 points) said.

In a sense, the Grizzlies just changed horses. For most of the night, power forward Zach Randolph (season-high 27 points and 17 rebounds) powered the effort.

“Zach was terrific and Marc was able to take over and get some work done,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “Marc’s help came late, but was right on time — when we needed him.”

Randolph, playing in just his second game since missing nine straight games with a sore right knee, was 11-for-16 from the floor. Randolph scored the Grizzlies’ first 12 points of the game as Memphis jumped out to an early 18-6 lead.

The Grizzlies (26-11) shot 48 percent (48-for-100) from the floor while Phoenix shot 42 percent (42-for-100). Memphis went 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and Conley was 4-for-7. Guard Isaiah Thomas led Phoenix with 20 points off the bench.

The Suns (22-18) had rallied from a 16-point deficit at the 7:22 mark in the third quarter to send the game into overtime at 101-101.

In regulation, a 3-pointer from Suns forward Markieff Morris (17 points) with 36.8 seconds left cut the Grizzlies’ lead to three. A turnover by Conley then set up a breakaway layup by guard Eric Bledsoe (11 points) with 25.7 seconds left to pull the Suns within one at 100-99.

After Vince Carter split two free throws for a 101-99 lead, Suns forward P.J. Tucker’s driving layup with 5.9 seconds left tied the score at 101-101. Memphis had two tip attempts in the last second from Randolph and Gasol, but both missed.

The Suns won the fourth quarter 35-26.

“We got scrappy,” said forward Brendan Wright, who scored seven points in his Suns debut after being acquired from Boston a few days ago.

Tied 108-108 with 16.2 seconds left in the first overtime, Bledsoe shot an off-balance jumper just before the buzzer. Bledsoe was matched up one-on-one with Grizzlies defensive stopper Tony Allen.

“I was able to alter his shot and he missed,” Allen said. “I live for that moment.”

The Suns had three players foul out: center Alex Len (14 points and 13 rebounds), Markieff Morris and Tucker.

“I just think we ran out of gas in the second overtime,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, were adjusting to a pending three-team trade that would have forwards Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter going to Boston and New Orleans, respectively, and will bring Celtics forward Jeff Green to Memphis.

Pondexter watched Sunday’s game from a suite that included Memphis general manager Chris Wallace.

Asked if the trade had an impact on the team, Randolph said: “It has to affect you. Me and Tay were close. You just gotta play through it.”

NOTES: Memphis’ anticipated three-way trade with Boston and New Orleans that would bring the Grizzlies F Jeff Green from the Celtics is still not official and won’t be until the NBA offices open on Monday morning. But before Sunday’s game with Phoenix, Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said F Quincy Pondexter (headed to the Pelicans) and F Tayshaun Prince (headed to the Celtics) “will not be available tonight. Other than that, until everything settles officially through the league, I cannot comment on anything,” Joerger said. Multiple media outlets have reported that as part of the deal the Grizzlies also would send a first-round draft pick to the Celtics and the Pelicans would send rookie G Russ Smith to Memphis for a future second-round pick. Green, 28, is averaging 17.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. … Suns coach Jeff Hornacek did not expect the Grizzlies’ trade situation to have a big impact Sunday. “These guys are pretty professional,” he said.

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