On to the final four!
The Summer Suns have advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 NBA Summer League playoffs after a 91-84 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. Phoenix overcame poor first quarter shooting and a double digit deficit to eliminate Chicago.
Early in the game all Suns struggled shooting, including the normally ultra-efficient T.J. Warren. Warren had difficulties with his jump shot and finishing at the rim. The Suns leading scorer of the Summer League caught fire in the second half however, and finished with his summer high of 31 points. What most impressed Coach Bjorkgren however, was the effort Warren showed on the defensive end and on the boards.
"He's tough to guard and you know what i also like on him, is he was rebounding it better. His defense was good. You know, i ask him to guard bigs, I ask him to guard point guards, so he does a good job of doing his defensive assignment."
When the shots weren't falling in the first half it was the defensive intensity that kept Phoenix within striking distance. With Doug McDermott absent for Chicago, the Suns were able to trim the deficit to four points at the half despite shooting just 26% from the field in the first quarter.
"Well I thought defensively, in the first half we were doing a good job. We had seven consecutive stops in the first quarter, as well as the second, I just think in the first quarter there we left some of our shots in and out. We weren't finishing around the rim as well as we should in the second half i thought we were looking for our teammates a lot more."
In the first half when the team was struggling, Devin Booker at time looked awfully composed for an 18 year old. He handled the ball well, attacked the rim aggressively and all around looked confident on the court. Coach Bjorkgren talked about what Booker brings to the court other than the jump shot that was so coveted at NBA draft time.
"He has a lot to his game. More than what people pinned him as, just a shooter. He can really play D. He's really smart. He can handle the ball and he's good going right or left. He has a great feel for the game. He really just absorbs it all and just keeps getting better everday."
The defense will certainly be put to the test in the Summer League semifinals as the Suns will meet a New Orleans Pelicans squad that hung 100 points on Golden State on Saturday night. New Orleans got 23 points from the Summer League's leading scorer, Seth Curry, in the win over the Warriors. New Orleans has failed to hit the 90 points mark just once in five Summer League games, all wins.
Tipoff between the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans in Summer League tournament action is scheduled for 5pm PT at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The winner will advance to Monday's championship game.