After only checking in for 11 seconds in the Suns season opener, Mikal Bridges received a more legitimate debut against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Bridges scored his first NBA bucket in the second quarter as he drove to the lane for the score. He showed off his range in the third quarter knocking down back-to-back threes as the Suns tried to battle back from their first half deficit.
“Sometimes we judge about a player’s performance whether they make shots or miss shots, but he did more,” Head Coach Igor Kokoškov said. “I think the whole staff was pleased that he showed presence on the court and made some shots.”
The tenth overall pick finished the game with ten points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 15 minutes off the bench.
“He played great,” Ryan Anderson said. “He’s a valuable player for us and he’s just going to keep getting better. It was exciting to see him out there tonight.”
Bridges’ solid play should help continue to grow his minutes on the court and the rookie knows that this is just a step in his basketball journey.
“Just a learning process,” Bridges said. “I’m going to keep getting better. We’re all going to keep getting better.”
It was a game of streaks as anytime it looked like the Nuggets had pulled away, the Suns would go on a run to tighten up the score. However, Denver’s dominant fourth quarter was too much for the young team as the Suns fell 119-91.
Phoenix now sits at 1-1 for the year, but with 80 games left, Anderson knows this is just a bump in the road for the long season ahead.
“You’ve got to look ahead to the next game,” Anderson said. “Improve. Get better. We’re still growing and learning.”
Booker scored 35 points in the Suns opener and followed that up with another high-scoring performance in Denver. He put up 25 points while adding seven assists, two rebounds and a steal.
The Suns will travel to Oakland for a Monday matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.