Suns News

Newsroom Notes: Suns Notch First Preseason Win

Morris scored a team-high 14 points Friday.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: October 12, 2012

The Suns fans that caught a glimpse of the 2012-13 Suns left US Airways Center looking forward to Halloween for another reason than just the candy.

The Suns, who open at home on October 31 against Golden State, got out of the gates early before rolling to a 104-93 home victory over the visiting Trail Blazers on Friday.

“I thought our spacing was much better than the night before in Sacramento,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. “That in itself created situations where now they were trying to rotate greater distances to either try to stop layups, and when they do that it usually opens up shots.”

Five players reached double figures, led by Markieff Morris’ 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while Luis Scola, Shannon Brown and Wes Johnson all added 12 apiece. Michael Beasley rounded out the final Suns player in double figures with 10.

In addition, point guard Goran Dragic carved up the Blazers with his dribble penetration, contributing nine assists in 30 minutes.

“We played well offensively and we shared the ball,” Dragic said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was ok. On defense too, (we did well) on the pick-and-roll.”

On the night, the Suns shot 51 percent from the floor, while holding Portland to 39-percent shooting. Phoenix racked up 11 more assists than the Trail Blazers and outscored them by 14 in the paint.

However, there are areas the Suns need to improve on before their next preseason game in Dallas.

“The offensive rebounding is still a huge concern,” Gentry said of giving up 17 offensive boards to the Blazers. “Then, I think the dribble penetration. We’re going to have to do a better job of keeping the ball out of the paint.”

Points of Emphasis

During the offseason, the league’s Competition Committee met and created points of emphasis for what they wanted to focus on for the upcoming season.

Before the game, NBA veteran referee Bill Spooner led a seminar for the media about what those points of emphasis are for the season. Early in the morning, he did the same for the Suns players and coaches.

Here are some of the areas they went over: the plane between defenders and shooters, moving screens, hand-checking, post defense, traveling, judgment on technical and flagrant fouls and creation-of-contact fouls. Spooner said that the players around the league have been very attentive and interested in these seminars.

“They ask a lot of questions,” he said. “They know that it’s their business.”

What Can Brown Do for You?

At practice yesterday, Shannon Brown looked as if he had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. Armed with seven stitches and a blood clot above his eyeball, it didn’t seem as if Brown was going to get those stitches out anytime soon.

A day later and the guy went 5-of-9 from the floor to total 12 points in 28 minutes. The 6-4 guard also dished out four assists.

“He’s a tough guy,” Gentry said. “Seven little stitches over the eye is no big deal. He wanted to play and you have a tendency to want to get out there when guys are taking your place and playing good.”

New Ref

Like many players in preseason, Brenda Pantoja is attempting to make an NBA roster. The difference with Pantoja is that she’s not trying to make a team roster, she’s attempting to become the second female official currently in the NBA.

As it stands, Violet Palmer is the lone female official now in the league. And while Pantoja is not expected to get the call to the NBA this year, fans can see her and her whistle in D-league and Pac-12 games throughout the season.

Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.