I expected the game to be a little more competitive than Sunday's laugher. It was, but only marginally, and this time lopsided in the favor of the bad guys.
After a sloppy first half in which Markieff Morris carried the team, Cleveland used a 33-17 third quarter to separate from the Suns. More impressive play from Morris allowed Phoenix to keep it respectable, even closing the gap with a mini run in the fourth quarter, but the Cavaliers made timely buckets and coasted to a 89-74 victory.
Kendall Marshall's debut directing the show for the Suns had mixed results, to put it in the kindest terms possible. His first game was marked by questionable decision making and errant passes. He seemed flustered and out of sync most of the night, throwing several disoriented balls where his teammates weren't. He'll get plenty of opportunities to improve upon this game (and it won't be hard). Despite a lackluster performance, Marshall still showed a few positive glimpses (more after the jump) and it was great to see him on the court as a Sun.
Player of the game: Markieff Morris scored 24 points to go along with 17 rebounds and 6 blocks. He was very active in this game. He did struggle from the field, going 7-21 overall and 2-14 after a 5-7 start. If you want to nitpick, he also had 6 fouls, but he was the most impressive player on the floor for either team tonight.
Comment of the night:
Scola who? Looks like we might have run n gun after all! #wheresthekieff
Kendall Marshall in response to how it felt to be out on the court at the point guard position tonight:
"It takes some adjustment. I know there's plenty I still need to learn and I'm looking forward to that. It's just a matter of getting better and learning from your mistakes every day."
Dan Majerle in response to Markieff Morris's game tonight:
"He played hard. I asked him to be a leader this year in the summer league and he's done that. He's taken this very seriously and it's shown in his game."
Check after the jump for full audio from interviews of Marshall and Majerle.
***UPDATE - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE ADDED***
Additional game notes and analysis after the interregnum.
The Suns as a team didn't look nearly as fluid as they did on Sunday against New York. Some of that was probably due to the level of competition (the Knicks summer team sucks out loud). Some of it may have had to do with the floor
Markieff Morris - A lot of my game notes were about Morris. He was everywhere tonight. His work on the glass (17 boards) was especially impressive. One of his 6 blocks was a chase down variety where he didn't quit on a Cleveland fast break. He also had a variety of spin moves that displayed his dexterity. Overall, he seems to be moving very well.
Morris did struggle from the field tonight. After a 5-7 start that was highlighted by a couple of trick shots from the perimeter, Morris labored to a 7-21 finish. If a couple of those hadn't fallen early it could have been an atrocious shooting performance. I didn't think he was receiving the ball in positions that fostered success on the offensive end. Morris still picked up six fouls, but I thought that more of them were on plays where he was attacking the ball than lazy pushes (like I felt after the first game). Solid overall effort.
Kendall Marshall - What I thought might be early jitters lingered for the duration of what turned out to be an inauspicious beginning for the newest Suns' summer league inauguration. Marshall was scoreless with 5 assists and 5 turnovers (I think they were lenient here because I counted more) in the game. He only attempted one field goal in just under 29 minutes and it was an airball (and it wasn't even close for an airball).
I don't know if discomposed or visibly shaken would be the best way to describe his performance, but he didn't seem like he could get in the flow of the game. His timing was disjointed; his internal clock ticking erratically. A positive takeaway was that Marshall always seemed to be looking down the court. Once he gets adjusted, I can see him being very effective at leading and pushing a fast break. He also had a nice penetration and kick in the fourth quarter that led to a wide open three by Marcus Landry.
DeShawn Sims was the second best player on the court for the Suns' summer league team tonight. He followed a 16 point performance against the Knicks with 12 points and 4 rebounds. Two of those baskets were on nice putbacks when he was lurking around the bucket.
Lob Babby joined the broadcast team for a few minutes in the second quarter and contributed some of his usual pearls of wisdom in his inimitably dulcet tone. Among the highlights: Babby mentioned moving forward is going to be a project. He talked about Scola's veteran leadership as an asset. Marshall - Great passer, high character, needs to improve his shooting. He talked about using the cap space for lopsided trades and amnesty waivers (like they just did) and also that (about the process of reshaping the team) they can't do it all in one off-season.
Check out exclusive audio from Dan Majerle and Kendall Marshall after tonight's game (Thanks Seth!)
Kendall Marshall Debut At Suns Summer League (July 17, 2012) (via BrightSideSBN)