First of all, the annual open Phoenix Suns intrasquad scrimmage was delayed nearly an hour because the team bus broke down right outside of Flagstaff. By the time the team got going again, they’d cancelled the post-scrimmage free autograph session (boo!) and shortened the scrimmage from 10-minute quarters to 8-minute quarters.
Frankly, I think they should have just done a big game of horse or a dunk contest, and stay for the fricking autograph session. These fans would rather get up close to the players and take him autographs than watch more than a few minutes of actual basketball. But we’re not in charge, are we Scott?
I’ll bet former beat writer Paul Coro is just hating life right now, not being here with us for this experience. Miss you too, Paul. And good luck with that crazy, rowdy GCU team and fanbase. They deserve you.
Anyway. At least I’m going to get see Josh Jackson for the first time since summer league. And Devin Booker for the first time since April. And Eric Bledsoe for the first time since March... well, you get the point.
The players finally took the court about 7:05 and took a few minutes to loosen up. The last thing you want is an injury in a situation like this. I’m sure coach Earl Watson is a bit concerned. His players sat on a bus for three plus hours right before this. Considering they missed a few warmup dunks, you could tell they were cold.
White/gray team: Dragan Bender, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Peter Jok, Elijah Millsap, Tyler Ulis and T.J. Warren.
Black team: Eric Bledsoe, Anthony Bennett, Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Mike James, Derrick Jones Jr., Alex Len and Alec Peters.
Out: Chandler and the injured guys.
- Josh Jackson had the best pregame dunk - a full windmill - until DJJ, not to be outdone, stepped it up big time and flew in for a few jams of his own to rock the house. Windmills all around!
- A few of the players interlocked arms during the anthem. Didn’t look like anything was planned
- Booker got the biggest cheer during introductions - by a long way
- Guess who got the second biggest cheer? DJJ. Because dunks. And NAZ.
- Booker made three on his team’s first possession (second chance)
- There were lots and lots of missed shots
- Eric Bledsoe looked like the only guy playing in rhythm. Looks really in control of himself and what’s happening on the court. Had several nice setups for DJJ on the move to the basket
- For an old guy, I gotta love this running clock.
- Dragan Bender blocked Peters at the rim, got the board and ran the break. Nice.
- Marquese Chriss looks like he’s back to his regular weight. Not as big as summer league. He’s a big dude though. Has some sand in the bucket, as they say.
- Chriss got a steal, led the break and fed T.J. Warren for a nice finish at the rim
- DJJ had a good looking catch-and-shoot for a corner three, nice arc, just rimmed out.
- T.J. Warren is so smooth, finishing with contact in the lane despite a defender in his grille.
- Halftime: Bledsoe’s team has a 26-17 lead
- Halftime lasted about 2 minutes. These guys want to go.
- Great pass on the break from Booker to T.J. for the finish
- Dragan Bender doing a good job protecting the rim here. Looks confident.
- Sweet pick-and-roll alley-oop from Booker to Chriss!
- Alex Len playing aggressive. Just looks so gangly.
- Tyler Ulis looked quick as ever, and a little bigger than last year. He’ll need it.
- Gray team pulled back to close what was once a 40-30 deficit to 43-42.
- Then gray takes the lead.
- Daniels and Warren trade threes to trade the lead
- Booker draws a foul on the final possession, with a chance to take the late lead at the free throw line with 4 seconds left. He drew the foul on Daniels. Ref tried to call a common foul, saying Booker was passing the ball. Booker got in his face “I DON’T PASS THE BALL!”
- Gray has four seconds to win it.
- Alex Len, of course, draws the foul with 2.3 left. Fans chant for overtime is not met. Makes them both. Gray takes lead back.
- Gray wins it on Len’s game winning free throws. As designed.
Turned out to be a fun game!