Grizzlies still winless in 7 playoff tries

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire jumped toward the basket
with the ball in his right hand and tomahawk dunked over 6-foot-9
Stromile Swift.

Take that Memphis, and anyone else who doubts the Phoenix Suns
know how to get physical.

Stoudemire scored 30 points, and the Suns rolled over the
Memphis Grizzlies 110-90 Friday night for the franchise's first 3-0
lead in a best-of-seven series. A victory here Sunday night would
give Phoenix a sweep of the opening-round Western Conference

"I saw him the whole time and when I jumped, he kind of pushed
me back and probably took about two inches off my vert, but I still
managed to use my 38-inch [vertical jump]," the 6-10 Stoudemire
said. "I'm not a huge trash-talker, unless you talk trash to me."

His teammates appreciated the effort.

"Anytime somebody dunks on somebody, you're going to get pumped
up," Suns forward Shawn Marion said. "He dunked on him hard."

Joe Johnson scored 20 points and reserve Jim Jackson added 17
for Phoenix. Marion added 14 points and 13 rebounds, Steve Nash had
13 points and eight assists.

No team has ever won a series after trailing 3-0, and now the
Grizzlies risk being swept from the playoffs for a second straight

"You can't have guys thinking about going fishing," Memphis
center Lorenzen Wright said. "We have to play playoff basketball.
I believe that we can win. I don't want to get swept again. We
played better at Phoenix than we did at home, that is not how you
play basketball."

Wright led Memphis with 14 points. Pau Gasol and Mike Miller had
13 apiece, and Shane Battier and Jason Williams scored 10 each.
Gasol had only three rebounds after playoff-bests of 28 points and
16 rebounds in Game 2.

The knock on the Suns despite their NBA-leading 62 victories in
the regular season was that they couldn't handle physical play from
bigger opponents, preferring to sprint up and down the floor.

"I think that we have shown we can do both," Stoudemire said.
"We can slow it down and play inside out, or we can run and gun
and shoot the lights out. So pick your poison."

The Grizzlies felt the time finally had arrived for the
franchise's first playoff victory. They thought they had only
themselves to blame in losing Game 2 108-103 on Wednesday night and
expected their frenzied fans to provide the edge the team lacked in

What they found out is that the Suns can push back pretty hard
when they want without affecting the NBA's best offense.

The Grizzlies got the start they wanted, hitting eight of their
first 10 shots and leading 24-15. The Suns couldn't find the basket
in the opening minutes and missed their first eight shots.
Stoudemire finished the quarter with 11 points after missing an
early slam.

Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni anticipated a furious start by
Memphis and had cautioned his Suns to weather the early excitement.

"They shot no telling how many layups and shot about 80
percent," D'Antoni said. "The guys just honed in and played
defense and had a great second quarter, and that kind of got us
over the hump."


With the Suns clutching and grabbing, the Grizzlies cooled off
and missed nine of their next 12 shots.

"We stopped them from doing whatever they wanted to do out
there," Marion said. "Next thing you know, we're up by 15, then
20 and it's over with."

The Suns took their first lead at 31-30 on a jumper by Johnson
with 5 seconds left in the quarter, part of a 24-6 surge that ended
with a Johnson 3-pointer from the right corner for a 49-36 lead
with 5:28 left in the second quarter.

Stoudemire, coming off a playoff-best 34 points in Game 2,
personified the Suns' physical approach with his pounding dunk over
Swift in the second quarter.

The Suns led 57-47 at halftime and never let the lead dip below
double digits in the second half as they finally blew out the pesky
Grizzlies. They led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter
with half the sellout crowd already headed home.

"We didn't have the drive and the same determination the rest
of the game," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.

Fratello, desperate to jump-start his Grizzlies, put Bonzi Wells
into the game with 5:25 left in the third. James Posey hit a
3-pointer to pull within 11 points, then Wells missed the next two

Game notes
The Suns had swept a handful of first-round series when the
round was just three games. ... The Grizzlies can't complain about
not getting to the free-throw line as often as Phoenix. The Suns
had 21 more attempts in Game 2 than Memphis, but the discrepancy
was only five in Game 3. Phoenix was 13-of-21 with Memphis going
13-of-18. ... Wells, who probably will be leaving this offseason,
finished with six points in nine minutes.