Short-Handed Suns Fall in Summer League Finale

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by Matt Petersen

Phoenix was already thin on the frontline before Friday's tip-off against the Mavericks. Miles Plumlee would be sitting out the Summer League finale and Alex Len is still recovering from a broken finger.

That left second-round pick Alec Brown manning the middle -- until the 7-1 prospect suffered a dislocated shoulder less than a minute into the game.

Phoenix was subsequently short-handed in the middle, where power forward Elias Harris and even 6-8 small forward T.J. Warren manned the center spot.

Combined with an off-shooting night (30.8 percent), the Suns found themselves trailing early before ultimately falling to Dallas, 88-62.

Suns Standout

Summer Suns Postgame Report: 7/18/14

Phoenix's need for someone to fill the void in the middle provided an opportunity for free agent forward Elias Harris, who did his best to hold down the fort.

The result was 15 points on on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting, his third double-digit scoring output over the last four games.

Archie Goodwin (13 points) and swingman Taylor Braunt (10 points, six rebounds) also hit double digits in the point column.

Worth Mentioning

While Dionte Christmas struggled shooting in all but one game in Las Vegas, he showed progress by contributing in other areas. For the third time in five games, the 6-5 guard snagged at least seven rebounds while adding three assists and two steals to the mix in Friday's finale.

Christmas is hopeful he can maintain his place in the NBA after his breakthrough via the Suns last season, which saw him maintain his first season-long roster spot since coming out of Temple in 2009.

At that time, he was considered mostly a one-diminesional long-range shooting threat. With his ability and willingness to do more than that, he's made himself into a more versatile option.