Josh Jackson, Elie Okobo Inserted Into Suns Starting Lineup vs Magic
It was announced that Devin Booker (left toe injury) and T.J. Warren (right ankle soreness) would miss Friday’s game as the Suns would be without their two leading scorers heading into their matchup against the Orlando Magic.
Coming off a career-high 19 points against the Clippers, Elie Okobo was inserted into the starting lineup with Josh Jackson. The two held their own in place of Booker and Warren as the game unfolded.
It was Trevor Ariza and Deandre Ayton leading the way offensively in the first half for the Suns and the team was down by just three entering the break. A strong third quarter from Jamaal Crawford off the bench kept the game in reach as they went into the final frame down 75-71.
Although the Suns were able to keep it close throughout the first three quarters, the team couldn’t overcome the loss of their two top scorers as the Magic were finally able to pull away in the fourth. Phoenix managed to keep Orlando under 100 total points, but ultimately fell to the Magic 100-85.
“Obviously, we have a great playmaker in Devin Booker and TJ, he’s an excellent scorer, but when those guys are not there, we have to learn have to move the ball and get everybody else involved and make sure we play the role offensively,” Troy Daniels said.
Starting at the point guard position, Okobo managed to play almost 30 minutes without a single turnover on the night as the rookie seemed to have no struggle running the offense.
Jackson continued to show the hustle he’s been displaying in the second unit, but this time with the starters as he almost notched a triple-double on the night with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
“I think any guy who had the opportunity to make the passes I made tonight, they would have made the exact same ones,” Jackson said. “So, just credit to my teammates for being in the right spots at the right time.”
Even in the losses, Jackson sees the team growing closer together and building chemistry throughout each game.
“I think communication is key,” Jackson said. “Just having trust in each other and team chemistry. I think chemistry is really good right now, even though we’re not producing many wins. All the guys really get along, love each other.”
Ayton put up a team-high 19 points on an efficient 56.2 percent shooting with six rebounds. Crawford continued to do what he has done his entire career as he led the way off the bench with 18 points.
The Suns will travel back to Los Angeles on Sunday, but this time to face the Lakers. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.