There was about one full quarter of decent basketball played last night before the game devolved to something you might see in Summer League or a pick up game. This isn't unusual of course for the second preseason game and if nothing else it made my work easier as I only needed to watch the first quarter to see what we might take from it.
As the picture above suggests, the storyline really was the Suns defense followed by the play of Goran Dragic at the point.
With Hill and Nash playing only the first 6 minutes the starting unit together didn't have much time to show us much.
Offensively we saw several high screen and rolls with Frye at the top of the arc. Nash on at least three occasions came off the screen and drove left with Amare rolling into the lane from the right and JRich and Hill stationed in the corners.
We are used to seeing Nash and Amare run this play so seeing Steve run it with Channing setting the screen is certainly something we will need to get used to. What this play does is give Nash at least 3 good options when the defense collapses: Hill in the near corner; Amare on the roll or Frye back at the top of the arc. Nash on a couple of occasions forced his shot instead. That's Nash getting into the flow so nothing to worry about there.
Beyond that, we saw some simple curls for either JRich or Amare for mid-range jumpers. What we didn't see was any kind of post play and we didn't see Nash probing into the lane on his own and circling around looking for someone.
The timing and spacing can definitely get better but that's why they call it "pre" season. These are basically glorified practice and workout sessions.
Defensively, there were some positive signs from both Richardson and Amare. Of the two, I would say that JRich looked more improved with better lateral movement and in one case staying with Ellis off a screen and drawing a charge. Amare drew a charge as well and at one point poked the ball away from Randolph on the wing but we also saw Amare standing around and not being fully engaged at all times. Hopefully, that will come with more game play.
The Suns were up 16-12 when Dudley and Dragic came in the game for Nash and Hill. They both got steals which lead to 4 fast break points. Then add two more on a run-out triggered by a Frye block as he recovered after Maggette blew by him and you have 6 easy points off turnovers in 6 minutes. That's a very good sign when the Suns not only get stops but get easy points from their defense.
Offensively, Dragic looked like he was in control. He ran a side pick and roll on the right with Frye and on the left with Clark and in both cases forced the defense to him and made nice bounce passes for open shots. Frye made his and Clark didn't. He also had a beauty of a crossover on Ellis which forced three defenders to collapse and Goran found a wide open LB who was able to drive cleanly into the paint and get to the line.
Dragic only attempted (and missed) one mid-range jump shot off curling off a screen. It was a good look and of course if he can make that shot it's going to make him more of a threat. His other recorded shot was a half court heave at the buzzer so that doesn't count.
Over all he had 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 6 minutes. Not a bad start for the kid who last year really was a deer in the headlights.
Dudley had the defensive hustle play of the night when he split two Warriors (pictured above) and out worked Curry for the loose ball and then rolled over and delivered a strike to Richardson for a dunk. Well, maybe that was just the defensive play of the quarter since Amundson had several nice blocks later in the game.
On the glass, the Suns did well with 13 boards to the Warriors 12. Of course, the Warriors only have one decent big (Biedrins) on the floor so it's not a true test although Randolph has a good nose for the ball as well and had 6 rebounds in his first 8 minutes. More impressive was the Suns ability to grab a defensive rebound and outlet to Hill streaking down the floor.
The forced turnovers and the outlets gave the Suns a 12-2 advantage in fast break points. Obviously, the Warriors are not a good defensive team but they do like to push the ball themselves so the Suns transition defense did it's job.
The Warriors looked just like their reputation suggests. A collection of school yard talent that plays something resembling the game of basketball but without all the nonsense of running plays or passing the ball. They had five assists in the quarter to the Suns 11 but then when the last three quarter turned into their style of free wheeling basketball their talent came through.