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Phoenix Suns

Updated Feb 6, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Suns' Lindsey Hunter pleased with growth on defense

Memphis Grizzlies' Tony Allen, center, passes the ball around Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

In their last four losses, the Phoenix Suns had allowed their opponents to average 110 points per game -- a difficult total to overcome for a team that is challenged to score points as well.

Interim head coach Lindsey Hunter talked about establishing a defensive mentality for the team when he took over for Alvin Gentry last month, and Tuesday night, it looked like the Suns had done just that.

Phoenix clamped down on the Memphis Grizzlies, especially in the second half, during a 96-90 win at FedEx Forum Tuesday night. The Suns held Memphis to just 44% shooting from the field and limited them to 38 points after halftime in only their fifth road win of the season.

"It's just more of what we're trying to do and become, it's solidifying our in-the-paint defense stopping guys from getting layups and challenging jump shots," Hunter told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Wednesday. "It's going to take us some time to get there, but when we practice I think we can reinforce a lot of things we're trying to incorporate.

"We solidified a lot of it -- not to the point where it's instinctive but I think awareness is the beginning of instinctively doing things and we've created the awareness that this is how we're going to play and this how we want to play. Defensively, we were much more aware (Tuesday) night than we were."

The Suns will try to continue their defensive improvement on the road Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets.

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