The Phoenix Suns rebounded after a tough 105-88 loss to the Kings with a 134-118 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. The team played with precision and aggressiveness and it led to the Suns’ best game this preseason. They were able to clean up their turnover issues, losing the ball only 18 times while forcing the Trail Blazers to cough up the ball 22 times.
CJ McCollum: McCollum led both teams in points with 27 as he repeated torched his defender and scored buckets at will. Although he wasn’t as perfect in the second half as the first, starting the game with seven of 10 shooting and finishing with 10-17, he was still a monster out there.
Kelly Oubre Jr.: The leader for the Suns in terms of points, Oubre put up 19 point off 18 minutes of play. He was doing everything on the court, from running the fast break, including assisting Mikal Bridges on the first points coming off a steal from Dario Saric, to creating his own shots. He cut, drove and went after the basket like a madman and though he didn’t finish every play with points, he let the defense know what’s good.
Dario Saric: Saric had a great overall game, putting up 14 points on five of eight shooting, including a perfect three for three at the three point line. He also led the Suns in rebounds with eight and collected two blocks out there. Getting that out of a starting caliber forward who isn’t the focal point of the offense is great, especially If he can consistently do this on the regular season starts.
The Suns’ Big Three didn’t play:
The Suns sat Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio and Deandre Ayton. It makes a lot of sense as Rubio is coming off a Fiba World Cup and with Booker and Ayton out, it gave a lot of playing time to some of the bench players. One of those guys was Bridges who after limited play last week, Bridges played 24 minutes and made plenty of plays for the Suns. He scored 13 points on five of seven shooting while also getting four steals. If there’s anyone I want to put my money on to breakout this next season, Bridges is high up on that list.
With the stars out, Tyler Johnson and Cameron Johnson both shined coming off the bench. After being a healthy scratch last week, Tyler shined when his number was called, scoring 18 points. Most of that came from the three point line as the former Miami Heat went four of six from there. Cameron also found success from the three land, putting up 18 points with the exact same shooting line as Tyler. He looked very confident in his shot out there and didn’t hesitate, a great sign that he’ll be ready in the regular season. If these guys can play like this coming off the bench, the Suns could be in a lot closer to relevance than we anticipate.
The Suns play this Monday at home against Denver.