Dudley Sizzles for Hometown at Team Scrimmage
The conclusion of the 2012-13 Suns’ training camp was capped off with the traditional intra-squad scrimmage Saturday.
Taking place at University of California San Diego’s RIMAC Arena, a Jared Dudley-led Team Black held off a Markieff Morris-led Team White by clinging to an 83-81 victory. According to unofficial stat totals, Dudley poured in a game-high 33 points, while fellow Team Black teammates Luis Scola (13 points), Michael Beasley (12) and Marcin Gortat (11) rounded out the rest of his squad in double figures.
“In general, I think the whole team has been encouraging,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “They’ve bonded together, they play hard and they try to play unselfish and do the right thing. When that’s the case, then you have to feel good about it.”
In front of an invite-only audience, the two sides engaged in a back-and-forth affair the entire afternoon before Team Black finally held on for the win. In fact, Team White held a one-point advantage at the half.
In the first period, Team White raced out to an early lead behind the all-around game of Morris, who scored a team-high 23 points. Shooting guard Shannon Brown added 18 points, while Sebastian Telfair (13 points), Wesley Johnson (12) and Jermaine O’Neal (nine) also contributed for Team White.
As a San Diego-native and the Suns’ longest-tenured player, it would make sense that Dudley would finish training camp as the scrimmage’s high-scorer. Dudley has been the consummate team leader the entire week, also enjoying the opportunity a few extra moments in his hometown before the regular season tips off.
Offensively, the team is adjusting to a new system that Dudley refers to as an “IQ offense,” which relies on the attack’s ability to make good cuts and reads of th defense.
“As you see in the new offense, everyone is moving,” JD said. “It’s not the traditional pick-and-roll offense. We’re using our bigs to make plays and for passing because that’s what Kieff and Scola can do.”
With just five players returning to the roster from last year's squad to begin the season, Gentry was forced to adjust and play to his new personnel's strengths. With big men such as Scola and Morris that can double as playmakers, the Suns are putting the ball in their hands to create scoring opportunities.
For Dudley, he believes the team made its greatest strides this week in picking up the new offensive system. And he cites the scrimmage as further proof of that.
“Both teams shot the ball well and moved the ball,” the 6-7 swingman said. “There were some sloppy plays here and there, but that’s going to happen when you’re sore and going hard. But offensively I think we made our most adjustments (this week).”
With the first preseason game in four days, Suns fans will see how that progress translates against an opponent that doesn’t have Phoenix's logo on its chest.
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