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Wizards fall to Suns in Orlando opener, 125-112
FINAL: Wizards 112 | Suns 125
Wizards: Rui Hachimura (21), Jerome Robinson (20), Ish Smith (17)
Suns: Devin Booker (27), Deandre Ayton (24), Dario Saric (16)
The Wizards were defeated 125-112 by the Suns on Friday afternoon at VISA Athletic Center despite 20-point performances from Rui Hachimura and Jerome Robinson. The game marked the first of eight seeding games in Orlando for both Washington and Phoenix. The Suns started the back-and-forth first half hot, shooting 13-20 (.650) from the field and 9-9 (1.000) from the free throw line on their way to 38 points in the first quarter. The Wizards, though, quickly fought back. An 11-0 Washington run capped by an and-one jumper from Jerome Robinson gave the Wizards a 44-42 lead with 8:19 left in the second quarter. Soon after, a 15-0 Phoenix run in less than three minutes propelled the Suns to a 67-52 lead at the half.
The third quarter belonged to the Wizards, who held the Suns to just 22 points, and entered the fourth quarter trailing by eight. Phoenix and Washington traded baskets in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before a 7-2 run brought the Wizards within seven points with 4:26 remaining. But consecutive buckets by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton put the Suns back up by double-digits. Ayton scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and seven in the game’s final four minutes, sealing a Suns’ win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Robinson steps up
During the exhibition period, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks called upon Jerome Robinson to play with confidence and step into a larger role during the Orlando restart. On Friday, Robinson put on his best performance in a Wizards uniform. The second-year pro totaled 20 points on an efficient 7-9 (.777) from the field and 4-6 (.667) from 3-point range in 32 minutes off the bench. He did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 13 points on 5-5 (1.000) shooting.
"I’m happy for him,” Brooks said of Robinson postgame. “Offensively, I thought he really played at the right pace. He has some good speed, he has some good ball-handling ability, he can make some good passes…He took a lot of good shots. He’s a good shooter. When his feet are set, he’s going to have a good chance to make it.”
Wizards early fouls lead to prolific Phoenix free throw performance
Eight first quarter fouls by the Wizards, including two each from Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, set in motion a night of opportunity at the free throw line for Phoenix – and they took advantage of it. Overall, the Suns shot 30-32 (.938) from the line. It took until 7:31 left in the third quarter for the Suns to miss their first free throw attempt after starting 22-22 at the line. Devin Booker led the way, making all nine of his attempts. Ricky Rubio was 8-8 (1.000) from the line and Dario Saric was 6-6 (1.000). Washington stayed out of foul trouble down the stretch, but Phoenix’s efficiency made them pay regardless. The Wizards lacked the Suns’ volume at the line, but were similarly efficient, shooting 20-23 (.870).
Booker leads the way for Phoenix
Going into the game, Scott Brooks and the Wizards knew the challenge they faced in trying to slow down Phoenix’s Devin Booker. The All-Star guard lived up to the hype, scoring a game-high 27 points on 8-21 (.381) from the field and 9-9 (1.000) from the free throw line. Booker also recorded five rebounds, four assists and a plus-24 rating in 33 minutes of action. In the first half alone, Booker scored 17 points and was plus-25 in 18 minutes.
“He’s a very methodical player and a guy that knows how to get to his spots and get his calls,” Robinson said of Booker postgame. “You have to be careful when guarding him and know where he wants to go and contest his tough shots.”
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Moe makin' moves!pic.twitter.com/X2vBFD9N5Q— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 31, 2020