Sharp shooting leads Suns to 5-0 record in Vegas
Facing Toronto in the quarterfinal round of the Las Vegas Summer League, the Suns’ efficiency from the field overcame the lack thereof while taking care of the basketball.
Phoenix shot 53 percent from the field while overcoming 21 turnovers and a late Raptors’ surge, coming away with a 103-98 win and a perfect 5-0 record in Las Vegas.
Marcus Morris (23 points) and Markieff Morris (16) both finished 8-of-11 from the field, while Archie Goodwin (5-for-5, 20 points) and Dionte Christmas (6-for-11, 15 points) added the perimeter punch.
As he did in the Suns’ win Thursday over Portland, Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek allowed the majority of Phoenix’s bench unit to finish a tight game situation.
“Last couple of games just kind of letting it go at the end to see how guys respond,” Hornacek said. “Tonight it got a little closer than we probably wanted it to, but we have guys here that all feel they can play. Jake [Cohen ] came in there and made six straight free throws , so you get to see a lot about guys and these types of situations. For coaches, it’s great.”
Goodwin honing shooting stroke, seeing results
The Suns’ talented young first-round pick continued to impress summer league observers. His mix of hard drives to the basket and selective 3-point shooting (2-for-2 from deep on Saturday) has made him a threat from anywhere on the floor.
“I watch [our] games whenever I can just to see what I could have done different on my shot, why I missed a shot,” Goodwin said. “When we went to the gym [Friday] and got some shots up, I figured out what it was and I was able to correct it.”
The good times have more than balanced out the rough patches, when Goodwin is sometimes rushed into a less efficient shot attempt or decision.
On one play Goodwin converted an acrobatic, contested layup at the expense of missing PJ Tucker on a 2-on-1 fastbreak.
On his next opportunity, he rewarded his running mate, feeding Dionte Christmas for the easier score in transition.
“Archie made a nice layup tonight, but we got on him on not making an extra pass for a layup,” Hornacek said. “Two plays later he does it.”
Morris twins continue to lead
Two of the summer Suns’ “veterans” have taken leadership seriously both vocally and with their production. Markieff Morris can often be seen talking with the younger players as well as those fighting to earn an NBA roster spot, offering words of advice and encouragement.
His (and Marcus’) words carry a heavier weight with recent on-court production. Markieff started the third quarter on a tear, using a down screen to break free for an alley-oop layup, delivered by Marcus. Markieff followed with a push shot over his defender on the low block before making an elbow jumper on a midrange isolation play.
Marcus was just as effective, starting the game with five points and three rebounds in the first four minutes. Later he drove to the middle and found a cutting Goodwin for an easy layup. He duplicated the play in the second half, this time hitting a Tucker for an open reverse layup.
The Suns play Miami in the Summer League semifinals tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.