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The Phoenix Suns face the Miami Heat 3PM PST (AZ time)/6PM EST in a game that will decide one of the two final teams of the 2013 NBA Summer League Tournament.

The Suns' Summer League Domination

The Phoenix Suns are not only one of just two undefeated (5-0) teams remaining in Vegas, they're also highest scoring team in Summer League, blitzing their opponents to the tune of 93.6 points per game in Vegas. In the NBA's regular 48 minute game, that pace would lead to a 112 ppg average. Hornacek definitely wasn't lying when he said he would make this team run. Run N Gun, Summer Suns!

The Suns are also scoring efficiently, shooting 48% from the field and 42% from the three point line. The team's free shooting has been subpar at a mere 69%, but the Summer Suns are getting to the line 33.4 times a game, which not only leads Summer League but is a higher average than any team in the 2012-13 regular season. The team that shot the most free throws last year (shocker: the LA Lakers) got to the line 27.9 times per game, so that show the Suns are REALLY attacking the rim.

The Opposition

The Miami Heat team is 4-2 in Las Vegas and is averaging 82.6 points per game. They set this year's Summer League scoring record by absolutely demolishing the Knicks in a 113-66 game on Wednesday so just like the Suns, this team can score.

Miami also played in the Orlando Summer League with several undrafted rookies such as Myck Kabongo, Jackie Carmichael, and DJ Stephens. Although those guys won't be playing tonight, Miami's Las Vegas squad also boasts some quality Summer League talent in players like James Ennis (Miami's second round pick this year), Jarvis Varnado (Miami's second round pick in 2010), Erick Griffin (undrafted 2012), and DJ Kennedy (a D-League All-Star and Champion).

Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will not be playing tonight because they are afraid of Archie Goodwin. Some champs they are.

Back to the Finals - 20 years later

The last time the Phoenix Suns competed for a championship was in 1993. I'd argue that this 2013 iteration is even more equipped (relatively) to bring home the title they're competing for. EYES ON THE PRIZE.

Both of these teams like to score so I expect lots of offense in this one. When it's all said and done, the Suns have more NBA talent on their Summer League roster than the Heat do. If they are indeed playing to win in Vegas, they should be able to take care of business against Miami and earn a seat in the championship game tomorrow. The winner of this game plays the winner of the Charlotte-Golden State game for all the summer marbles.

In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. The Suns can start be defeating the reigning NBA champions tonight. The stakes are high in this one, folks, so be sure to tune in to see what the likes of Kendall Marshall, PJ Tucker, the Morris twins, and of course, ARCHIE "BEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS" GOODWIN have in store in an effort to cement the Suns' place in Summer League History.

NOTE: This is my first ever Suns Game Preview/Thread so let's hope I can be some good luck for the team going forward (or at least not bring bad luck).

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Salutations everyone! My name is Eric - formerly known as NashMV3 to some of you longtime Bright Siders. I've been a member of this wonderful website since December 2009 and Dave King, our prodigious Overlord, brought me on earlier this season to edit and proofread the staff writers' articles behind-the-scenes because you grammar Nazis keep hurting their feelings they wish to deliver to you, the lovely readers, the best content available.

Ever since the season ended, we've noticed a lot of new members joining the site and posting. While I'm not "officially" part of the staff, I am, however, able to speak on behalf of them. So on behalf of the entire staff of Bright Side of the Sun, I'd like to extend all of you new folks a HUGE e-hug welcome and also give the BSotS veterans mad props both for sticking with us over the years and helping to make this hellish season a little more enjoyable for everyone.

Now, I'll let the Ghost of Bright Side's past take over for a bit. Leiland, aka the Artist Formerly Known as Eutychus, has this to say:

We thrive on news, commentary and civil conversation about the Phoenix Suns - in order to maintain the civility and an environment conducive to healthy conversation, we have established guidelines of how to participate. If you have not read these guidelines make sure you do, because we are tightening the screws on our comment moderation and will be swift to hand out warnings and bans for guideline-violators.

You heard the man. Both new members and BSotS veterans alike should take some time to review the community guidelines if you haven't already or if you just need to brush up on them a bit.

For our convenience, Leiland made this video about 2 years ago that breaks down the community guidelines. Check it out:


For those who can't view the video, check out the original manuscript here:

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Again... we hope you enjoy your stay here at Bright Side of the Sun, everyone! Now please play nice.

Archie Goodwin and the Suns came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter and never looked back as Phoenix advanced to the semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League with a 103-98 victory over...

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The Phoenix Suns summer squad was efficient today. And three players were out of this world. Combined stats: 21-27 from the field, 5-6 on threes, 12-16 on free throws. That's 59 points on just 27 shots for Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Archie Goodwin combined.

"There's nothing about Goodwin I don't like," former head coach and current NBATV analyst Sam Mitchell said in the third quarter.

Archie Goodwin was all over the court, looking so fluid and natural that you could tell the game comes totally easy to him. At 18, he's a boy among men who won't even be able to drink when/if he plays his THIRD Summer League season. But in terms of talent he's head and shoulders above anyone else on that court today.

And this is without Goodwin really knowing how to play basketball yet. He is just playing instinctively, moving without the ball, defending his man and running out on the break with ease.

Goodwin started strong and stayed strong, collecting fouls on the opponent's big men to the point that early in the third quarter the ultra-aggressive Quincy Acy stepped away to let Goodwin score easily on yet another drive to the hoop.

Goodwin had 19 points (5-5 shooting, 2-2 on threes), 2 blocks, 2 rebounds and an assist before the end of the third. He played in the fourth, but didn't contribute much (1 point, 1 rebound) as the Suns stopped running very much while they waited out the rest of the game. Goodwin is clearly better in the open court, where he can use his speed and quicks.

It helps that he was surrounded by four NBA rotation players most of the time (Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Kendall Marshall, P.J. Tucker), but even among those guys he was the most talented guy out there.

The Morrii had good offensive games and the most encouraging development was their efficiency, taking only good shots within the offense and nearly always within 15 feet of the basket. Both went 8-11 from the floor, getting 39 points between them on just 22 shots. After last year's wild 30% shooting in Vegas for Markieff, this is a welcome development that harkens back to Morris' college days where he made a high percentage of his shots. Hopefully gone are the days of free shots from 22 feet out (hint: they are free because the defense WANTS you to shoot those).

P.J. Tucker was P.J. Tucker. The heart and soul of this team.

The best non-roster Suns player of the game was shooting guard Dionte Christmas. TWICE, Christmas drew the foul on a three-pointer that he made. Rarely is a guy fouled behind the three-point line, and almost never does the shot go in. Christmas did that twice because he caught-and-shot the ball on the run with a chasing defender who ended up running into him. That's skill. Christmas doesn't need to gather - he just needs to stop on a dime and put it up.

The Suns could really use more shooting, but with Shannon Brown under contract already behind the rotation of Bledsoe, Dragic, Marshall, Goodwin and (maybe) Garrett, there will be little room for another shooter unless it's a bench-warming spot only. Still, he might get a camp invite.

One guy who had a really forgettable, like "let's burn that tape", game was Kendall Marshall. He repeatedly made ill-advised passes in the open court and half court, and got his pocket picked a few times while dribbling at mid-court which all turned into a lot of Raptor points. Not sure what was on Kendall's mind today, but it wasn't this game. His final line was 6 points, 2 assists and 5 turnovers. Ouch.

"He may play his way into the D-League if he doesn't pick up his play," Vincent said of Marshall at the end of the game. He suggested 35-40 D-League games would be better for Marshall than sitting on the Suns bench watching Bledsoe, Goodwin and Dragic play ahead of him.

For the Raptors, their best players of the night were Quincy Acy and Dwight Byucks, who scored 56 of the Raptors 98 points and were the only players in double figures. Byucks just signed a contract to come to training camp, and Acy is a fringe NBA player. Both were on fire all game, keeping the Raptors within striking distance. They even pulled within five points with a few seconds left while the Suns were sleep-walking.

But the Suns still won the game, if not in a cake walk. Jake Cohen had ice in his veins, making 6 free throws in the final minute to hold the lead for the Suns.

The Raptors best summer league players before today were big 21 year old center Jonas Valanciunas, who sat out with a sprained finger, and Terrence Ross, who was limited due to a 'who the hell is Archie Goodwin?' sprain. Jonas V was their #5 overall pick in 2011 and Terrence Ross was the #8 pick in 2012. Toronto traded their 2013 pick to Houston for Kyle Lowry, who traded it to OKC (in part) for James Harden. Terrence played but made no impact on the game, finishing with 9 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out early.

UPDATE:

Post-game audio from Archie Goodwin

Post-game audio from Coach Hornacek

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The Suns face the Raptors at 3pm AZ Time on NBATV in a fight to make the Final Four, or semifinals, of the inaugural Vegas SL Championship.

While watching the game, you can get a whiff of what we might eventually see in Alex Len and Archie Goodwin.

Valanciunas comparison to Alex Len

In a recent article, our resident scout Kris Habbas and a former scout for the Phoenix Suns, Amin Elhassan - both of whom have scouted college and international prospects for the last several years professionally - rated Suns draftee Alex Len on nearly the same plane as Raptors youngster Jonas Valanciunas.

The comparisons were done on a "when they were drafted" basis. Jonas, drafted 5th overall in 2011, was a skinny 19 year old kid from Europe with a range of skills and talent who just wasn't ready to play in the NBA yet. The Raptors were willing to wait. A year later, he came over to the NBA and began to make his mark in the rotation. Now at age 21, he's wowing the scouts and journos at Summer League with a near 20-10 stat line.

When you watch Valanciunas today, you might see someone that Suns rookie C Alex Len could someday compare to. Or, if Len doesn't pan out at all, you might see what could have been. Their games are not completely similar, but their body types and potential are right there.

Ross comparison to Archie Goodwin

This quality Raptors team also boasts last year's #8 overall pick, Terrence Ross, who was coveted by Suns fans as a shooting guard prospect. A year later, the Suns have the young Archie Goodwin in that spot. Today, you can use your own eyes to compare the two prospects.

Ross, a 3-and-D guy, was taken a lot higher in a better draft than Goodwin and is a lot more polished as an NBA player. So, expect to be impressed by Ross. He is averaging 13.5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in the SL.

Yet Goodwin, only 18, has been impressive if not consistent. He is putting up 11.8 points per game, with 3 rebounds and a .3 assists.

It will be fun to see them battle it out today.

The rest

While Jonas V and Ross are the headliners for the Raptors, the Suns boast three rotation players from last year's "worst in the West" team: Markieff and Marcus Morris, and P.J. Tucker. Plus, they play last year's lotto pick Kendall Marshall at PG.

Let's see if the Raptors can hang with the Suns balanced and deep squad.

Stats

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