"We finally have a championship game. Let's have fun with it," P.J. Tucker says, of his sixth summer season. Tucker was ready to rumble.
All players were ready to go. This is the kind of game that can give these guys some confidence as a unit going into next season. Unless you get blown out, that is. Then it's all about excuses and missed opportunities.
After a strong start and a big attempt to stay in the game until they found their shooting, the Suns ended up fading. They lost all the loose balls, gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and in the end couldn't pull out a win.
Golden State won the inaugural Summer League Championship 91-77 in a game that wasn't as close as the score, after all.
Get used to it Suns fans. Just when you think the Suns are turning a corner, they will throw up a stinker. The Suns finish 6-1 in summer league.
It was the third game in three days, seventh in just over a week for both teams. Early, the shots were off for both teams, but then they both heated up to an extent. The Suns did it by scoring inside, being aggressive going to the rim and taking contact. Golden State started setting up on the three-point line and turning the game into a broken-down transition game as often as possible.
Both teams played this game hard at first, but the Golden State Warriors played the Suns harder than any opponent to date and ran the Suns off their confidence. They have lots of scorers on that team, and they all scored.
Golden State went on a big run in the second quarter, stunning the Suns who were focusing on smart scores near the basket.
Ian Clark had 19 points at halftime on 7-9 shooting, 4-5 on threes. As a team, GS made 6-13 first half three-pointers. You might think Clark would cool off in the second half, but no. Clark went 12-19, 7-10 for the game to win MVP honors with 33 points.
Archie Goodwin was the Suns' best first-half player, with 16 points of his own, making 5-8 shots and 5-5 free throws. Unfortunately, Goodwin was not nearly as active in the second half and only finished with 18 points.
Marcus Morris was 4-6 for 9 points, plus 3 rebounds, in the first half while P.J. Tucker dropped 10 tough points inside. Both of these guys did show in the second half, but it wasn't enough. Morris finished with 17 and 6, while Tucker played hard but just didn't get the results.
Both the Suns and Warriors made more than half their shots in the first two quarters.
"Both teams?" Hornacek replied at halftime with an exaggerated squint (I've gotten some of those too), after David Aldridge tried to say both teams played hard in the first half. "They were playing hard. We were a little slow."
Diante Garrett started the second half at PG, but the Suns didn't start the second half with much more precision or passion. Golden State still got to every loose ball and Phoenix couldn't finish layups or open shots.
Still, it's summer league. Both teams struggle more with playing basketball at this level. As before, teams were tight (tired) coming out of the break. The Suns apparently more tired, because they didn't come out of their funk as fast as Golden State did.
The Suns started coming apart when they couldn't make open layup after layup on the same possession, ending in a breakaway to give Golden State back the lead. Form that point, Golden State broke out and took a 63-54 lead.
Greg Anthony was very complimentary of both Morris brothers, referring to their quality footwork both under the basket and on the perimeter, on offense and defense. He also complimented them on their ball handling and passing. He just said they need to make shots (Kieff was 2-10 at that point, mostly on inside shots).
Kent Bazemore was a big time scorer for the Warriors with an array of scoring drives and dipsy-do moves to get open jumpers.
After a timeout, the Suns righted the ship and pulled back within two, beginning with a three-pointer by Kieff, who to that point was missing everything. Good on Hornacek sketching out a play to get him another three which he made.
Archie Goodwin came out completely flat in the second half, deferring totally to his teammates. He didn't drive or cut or demand the ball at all. This is something that reminds you Goodwin is still just 18 years old.
Overall, it was a really sloppy third quarter with neither team taking control of the game. In fact, it appears that the Warriors were dominating the game, but only had a 4 point lead.
In the fourth, the Warriors came out with a vengeance and the Suns, once again, weren't ready to match the intensity. The Suns defense broke down totally, leaving Ian Clark open AGAIN for a three like the Suns were back in 2012-13 again. Ugh.
Add in giving up offensive rebounds, and the Warriors took an 11-point lead before the Suns could even take a breath.
The Suns were just back on their heels all night long.