Suns News

Suns Slip in Second Straight Game

Markieff Morris led the Suns in scoring and rebounding for the third consecutive game on Wednesday.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Aaron Seidlitz, Suns.com
Posted: July 18, 2012

The result still wasn’t what Kendall Marshall and the “Summer Suns” would’ve liked it to be, but Wednesday night’s game was one of the next steps for the young point guard’s introduction to the NBA.

On Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in his first game as a Phoenix Sun, Marshall attempted only one shot.

The Phoenix coaching staff then put an emphasis on two things following the game. First, summer league head coach Dan Majerle wanted his young guard to look for his shot, so that his game wasn’t one-dimensional. Second, Majerle stressed that there will be a learning process Marshall will have to go through as he adapts to the new league as a pass-first guard.

Unlike that game against Cleveland, Marshall looked for his shot more this time around against New Orleans at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center. However, that didn’t change the overall result for the Suns, which dropped its second straight game 78-61 to go to 1-2 in three summer league games.

The 13th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft finished Wednesday’s game with three points on 1-of-10 shooting and a free throw for Phoenix. Other signs that Marshall was more aggressive and confident came in the form of the five assists and only two turnovers he totaled.

His first basket as a Sun came in the first quarter. When a defender played off him, the lefty squared his body and walked into a shot on rhythm. There was little doubt from the release that it was going in.

Marshall also showed a little more determination after that by working his way into the lane and drawing defenders. Many of his five assists were to a teammate that was in a clear position to score due to the collapsing defense.

“I just came out more relaxed,” Marhsall said. “Obviously, the outcome was still the same, and you just have to score the ball as a team. Individually, I just felt more relaxed out there, and it was nice to get one game under my belt yesterday.”

As was his emphasis after Tuesday's game, Majerle stressed that the adjustment Marshall will make in time is how to read the defense. There were moments, the “Summer Suns” head coach said, that Marshall’s jump shooting allowed others on the court to be more open simply because the guard was viewed as a threat to shoot.

But by the end of this game it wasn’t only Marshall who struggled to score.

The Suns only shot 33 percent from the floor, and, in the second half, seemed to run out of steam. Majerle attributed that to the pretty hectic pace the team has been on since preparing for Las Vegas with three practices last week.

After hanging with the Hornets in the first half, tired legs contributed to the team’s eight-point third quarter when New Orleans pulled away.

“We’ve had two-a-days for three straight days, and then we came here and have played two games and a scrimmage,” Majerle said. “That’s pretty hard, so we expect them to be pretty tired. The day off (Thursday) will be good for us."

Power forward Markieff Morris again led the team in scoring and rebounding for the third of all three summer games. He put in 13 points and tied reserve forward P.J. Tucker with six rebounds.

Morris was limited in the fourth quarter after slipping on the court, but was still able to affect the game in a number of areas. Despite his shot being a little off, the 6-foot-10 forward was active on the glass, while also adding two assists and two blocked shots.

Of the other players on the roster, former Ohio State guard David Lighty continued to show a capability to play solid defense. Marcus Landry played the most minutes of any Sun off the bench on Wednesday, and repaid Majerle’s decision by being the only one besides Morris in double digits with 11 points.

Phoenix will next take the court back at Cox Pavilion – sight of the team’s first game and win – on Friday at 7 p.m. to play the NBA D-League Select Team.