The Suns once again started off slow with a stagnant looking offense and little success moving the ball. Kendall Marshall didn't look sharp as he couldn't get the offense in rhythm, and Marcus Morris couldn't hit a shot to save his life.
Fortunately, Archie Goodwin got the memo to come out more aggressive as he almost single-handedly kept the Suns in the game. He came out attacking the basket and shooting efficiently from three nailing both attempts from beyond the arc, starting with 10 points off 4/4 shooting in the first 6 minutes of the first quarter.
For the Grizzlies, it was Tony Wroten who came to play as he also made some aggressive moves to the basket and hit a couple shots beyond the arc.
Goodwin finally began to cool off a bit in the closing minutes of the first half though, still being aggressive but only shooting 3/6 from the free-throw line and missing his first field goal with about 50 seconds left in the quarter.
Phoenix struggled to find anyone other than Goodwin to put the ball in the basket as the Suns once again trailed after the first quarter 26-19.
The Suns second unit of Diante Garrett, Dionte Christmas, Chris Babb, Alex Oriakhi, and Arinze Onuaku began the second quarter, and the Suns again initially struggled to find a go-to player on offense, and continued making mistakes based on slow, or poor rotations on defense as well.
Still, the second unit was able to hang in there and not give up any ground, thanks to some sloppy play by the Grizzlies that resulted in a ton of transition points for the Suns. Not only that, the Suns were able to get to the line repeatedly, even when they couldn't get a good shot. This helped the Suns to slowly narrow the gap eventually take the lead off of three Chris Babb three-pointers and even an Alex Oriakhi fast break dunk.
The Suns were able to finish off the first half with the lead; up 50-47 at the end of the second quarter.
To start the third quarter, the Suns came out once again with the starting unit of Kendall Marshall, Archie Goodwin, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, and Markieff Morris. This time Goodwin started off making plays defensively by breaking up a pass right off the bat, leading to a fast break layup by Marshall.
Marcus Morris also finally got on the board by hitting two free throws and scoring on a fast break dunk off a Marshall steal and look-ahead pass, and P.J. Tucker hit a couple post up jumpers to get the Suns off to a much better start as a whole unit.
Jack Cooley finally started making his mark for Memphis after being held to just 2/10 shooting in the first half, by getting inside for a few rebounds a dunk, and a nice post up jumper with and and-one as well. Still, the Suns were able to extend the lead with a much more evenly distributed offensive attack and some nice passes by Marshall in transition.
The Suns were definitely winning the in the fast break category as well, 13-2 through the third quarter, not including a multitude of free throw attempts as well.
Phoenix held serve and expanded the lead to 74-65 going into the final quarter.
Once again, it was mostly the Summer League equivalent of the Suns' second unit to begin the 4th quarter: Garrett, Christmas, Babb, Tucker, and Onuaku.
The game went back and forth a bit through the duration of the game, but once again it was all hands on deck for the Suns as Phoenix continued a fairly balanced offense overall.
P.J. Tucker maintained his impressive play to start the fourth by immediately getting to the line, hitting another jumper, and an easy lay-up to add another six points and bring his total to 18.
Diante Garrett racked up 12 assists thanks to a lot of transition plays and also some nice dishes while driving.
Onuaku continued to get his hands on some tough rebounds, and also score a little inside as well. He secured his first double-double of Summer League about midway through the fourth quarter.
Suns hung on to beat the Grizzlies 100-88 and go 3-0 in Summer league.
Archie Goodwin led the Suns, and all scorers with led all scorers with 22 points. Donte Greene led the Memphis Grizzlies with 18 points. Arinze Onuaku led in rebounds with 12 to go with his 13 points as well...Get this guy a jersey.
Archie Goodwin is very talented.
Arinze Onuaku is clearly winning the big man roster battle with Oriakhi.
Chris Babb can shoot....but probably won't make the roster
Kendall Marshall is improving his game...baby steps folks!
P.J. Tucker is pretty good (duh)
Our own Seth Pollack is live on the scene and will post a follow up with some video and quotes from after the game, and his take on things in the morning.
In addition, the Suns will now enter the Summer League Seeding Bracket in one of the top spots...more on that once it is announced.
Suns Win!!! Suns Win!!!
When: Tonight 5:30pm PST/8:30 EST
Where: Las Vegas
Watch: Live on NBA Summer League Broadband ($14.99)
Last night's win against Minnesota came down to the wire after the Suns had been down by around 20 points for most of the game. However, the Suns battled hard down the stretch with some key defensive stops and some nice shooting by the Markieff and Marcus Morris, as well as Kendall Marshall.
Tonight, the Suns will take on the Memphis Grizzlies who have thus far been led by the all-around game of Jack Cooley, a PF from Notre Dame who has posted an avg of 14 pts and 8 rebounds in his two games thus far, going 11/20 from the field overall. He will be a challenge to guard for the Suns bigger PF's like Oriakhi and Onuaku since Cooley has range out beyond the three-point line, so I expect to see Marcus or Markieff get the assignment to guard him most of the time.
In addition to Cooley, the Suns will have to deal with Tony Wroten at guard, who can be an explosive mismatch for opponents...when he's on. He lit up the Bulls on Saturday for 17 pts on 4/9 shooting as well as dishing 4 assists and grabbing 6 boards; but on Sunday against the Cavs he scored only 7 pts on 1/14 shooting in 36 minutes of play.
As for the Suns, the big question is whether we will see much of veterans P.J. Tucker or Markieff Morris, or will they give other players like Dionte Christmas, Alex Oriakhi, and Arinze Onuaku a longer look instead. I still expect the Suns to give Kendall Marshall and Marcus Morris plenty of burn to help bring them along, but Hornacek may begin adjusting the rosters a little more now.
Will the Suns get off to a faster start tonight? Will Archie Goodwin bounce back from a disappointing showing against the Timberwolves? Can the Suns remain undefeated heading into the seeded games beginning tomorrow? Will Markieff ever post somebody up?
We'll get the answers to these questions and more very shortly. Be sure to stay and join the fun right here during the game as we complain, cheer, cry, bemoan, and cheer some more!
Two games into the Summer League and the Phoenix Suns are two games over .500, a feat they accomplished exactly zero times last season. With a win tonight they will tie the longest winning streak in the calendar year of 2013 at three games. See, there is something to root for!
Eighth Topic: Five Questions on Summer League
Jim Coughenour: My biggest takeaway was the positive vibes I got from the front office and coaching staff after the Blazers game. It seemed like genuine excitement rather than the contrived kind from last season. You know, the feigned "I. am. so. happy. meh." routine.
Dave King: It looks like they have come to play, and win games. Marcus said after the last-second win over Minny that they were embarrassed at halftime because there were some NBA starters in their lineup (true enough, Marcus started for both Houston and Phoenix, while Markieff and Tucker started in Phoenix), so they came back to win.
Kris Habbas: Honestly? It is pretty obvious that either in Summer League or the D-League the Morris Twins are superior to their opposition. It is also pretty obvious that Kendall Marshall has a tougher learning curve than even he expected.
Richard Parker: I'm pleased, mostly because I love seeing the Suns win and I know they probably won't be doing much of that during the regular season. Goodwin had one good game and one bad, and that is to be expected. The Morris brothers are playing well for the most part, as is Marshall. Another guy I've been impressed by is Dionte Christmas. And Onuaku has proved to be a solid presence on the boards and in the paint.
Sean Sullivan: I think the players I was hoping to see the most from, the Morri and Marshall, have all stepped up and done fairly well. Goodwin looks like the raw, young rookie we all expected him to be, and Onuaku & Christmas have been the best of the rest.
DK: I am looking for Marshall to look like a game-controlling floor leader (and not for him to put up 20 points per game). I want the Morris guys to play like team players, who make their teammates better than when they are on the bench. And I want Tucker to help Hornacek show these guys who to play hard. So far so good, after two games. As far as Goodwin is concerned, I just want to see him show up and flash potential.
KH:For the four returning players with NBA experience there needs to be progression. Marshall needs to raise his release point on his jumper, gain more of a burst off the dribble, and go to the Andre Miller School of Non-Athletic Point Guards. Tucker simply needs to get the Monstars ability to steal powers and take the offensive potential of either Morris Twin to complete his game.
RP: I was hoping to see Marshall be a bit more aggressive in terms of creating offense in the half court, as well as shooting the ball better. He has shown a bit of both already. Although I've been impressed with the Morris brothers, I still have my doubts about their abilities to translate their SL success to the regular season. They both look to be in better shape though, so that's a very good sign. Tucker is basically the same player he was last year and that's ok.
SS: I want to see more scoring, or at least shot attempts from Marshall, so far he's done pretty well in that respect. Tucker has been Tucker (in a good way). And I wanted to see more post play from Markieff, and though he's done well overall, I think that's still lacking.
JC: By "looking", are you implying hoping or expecting? Kendall - increased aggressiveness and improved shooting form. P.J. Tucker - hitting the corner three. The Morri - find identities and develop consistency within them (I'm still not sure these guys know what kind of players they want/need to be).
DK: Goodwin is a natural talent who will be a player in this game for a long time, and could be a star if he develops a jumper that's consistent. He's active and instinctive on offense and defense, which is rare, making him the best Suns prospect in a long, long time. For Oriakhi, just play better than Dwayne Collins and Arinze Onuahu.
KH: So far Goodwin has been a talented 18 year old and Oriakhi has played 17 total minutes... The raw talent is there for Goodwin as a defender and slasher, but C.J. McCollum took him to task in the opener and in the next game he seemed to lose his confidence. How about getting Oriakhi on the court?
RP: Archie Goodwin has oodles of raw talent. He has shown it in several instances already but his lack of offensive polish and his young age have also been displayed. I still like him very much and am confident he'll develop into a good player. I have no thoughts on Oriakhi. He has been a non-factor thus far and Onuaku has outplayed him.
SS: Goodwin shows flashes, but still very inconsistent and plays too out of control at times which is no surprise. As for Oriakhi, he's clearly been outperformed by Onuaku thus far. His chances of making the roster aren't looking too good at the moment.
JC: Goodwin was a standout in the first game comparative to incoming expectations. He should be fun to watch mature over the next couple seasons. Oriahki will be in a heated competition among a triumvirate (including Onuaku and Collins) of filler bigs trying to crack the regular season roster.
KH:I know McDonough mentioned this once, but this is not a school of thought I entertained while watching countless hours of Goodwin in high school, college, and while running the point out of need. He is a two. A combo at best, but definitely not a point guard. Versatility does not have a defined position and that is what Goodwin is; versatile.
RP: I'm buying that they want to try him out at the point, but I don't buy that he'll be a full-time PG. I think he'll be best as a 2-guard that can handle the ball and create offense.
SS: No. I just don't see it at all. I never thought of him as a PG at UK and I still don't now. I think he could be a very good SG in a few seasons with the right development though.
JC: Obviously he isn't a pure point guard, but a team can operate without one. George Hill is a good example in Indiana. If Goodwin can get to the basket and create his own offense it will help mask less than elite facilitating abilities. Depending on his backcourt counterpart and the possibility of a point forward in the mix, I can see Goodwin succeeding at the point on a situational basis. Also, he's only 18, so who knows what his game will look like in five years.
DK: Not yet. He can get his own shot any time, that's for sure. But I haven't seen the passing yet.
RP: Ideally, it would be a mix of both. However, the Suns' roster is nearly full already I have no problems with them focusing on developing the young guys that will be part of the team's rotation during the regular season.
SS: A little of both. I would like to see more from Onuaku, Christmas, and Oriakhi...but I think those are the only guys who have a shot of making the roster, so the rest of the minutes I'd rather see go to our rookies and players who are already on the roster but still need more development.
JC: It's a really good experience for Goodwin, so I'd like to see him get as much burn as possible. I guess there may be a chance for a big to make the regular season roster so some time there makes sense, the Morri have been through this routine before. It's pretty unlikely to stumble on a legitimate NBA talent in a Summer League invite, but then again... P.J. Tucker.
DK: I think they should just focus on their system, and getting the guys to buy in to a hustling, fast-paced game. Doesn't matter who plays, just that they commit and play hard.
KH: If they feel there is a P.J. Tucker out there, yes, but otherwise this is a chance for new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek to evaluate his young players. He needs to get a feel and more importantly set boundaries for his young talent.
SS: I think we'll see more positives from Goodwin in this game. I'm not sure what happened against Minny, but I think he'll bounce back.
I also expect to see Christmas and Onuaku really get their chances to shine as I think Markieff and Tucker could begin having their minutes reduced.
JC: Another Suns win. I was surprised that they dug a hole they almost couldn't claw out of against the Wolves. The Suns are starting four regular season rotation players... so they should be competitive. It will be interesting to see if Christmas (especially) and Onuaku get heavy minutes again or if Hornacek gives other players extended playing time.
DK: I expect the Suns to come out flat, and then fight to win the game in the fourth, just like the first two games.
KH: An interesting difference between the Suns and the Grizzlies (in Summer League) is the element of raw athleticism. Other than Goodwin, the Suns are out-athleted at every position and that should be an interesting factor in this match-up. The Suns could cement themselves in the new SL Playoffs with a win so that is obviously the goal here, right?
RP: I'm hoping to see another good outing from the Suns. I'd really like the Morris brothers and Marshall to show some consistency and for Goodwin to get some touches to display his scoring ability.