The NBA season is almost ready to resume!!
For now, we will take a super-fun scrimmage in which the Suns (minus two starters and two backups) blew out the Utah Jazz (missing one starter). The game wasn’t even close, with the Suns pulling out to a 21-9 lead and never looking back.
Mikal Bridges lead the team with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Devin Booker finished with 13 points and 3 assists, Dario Saric had 12 points and 6 rebounds, Deandre Ayton had 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Cameron Payne had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
In all, nine different Suns players had 8+ points in a very even offensive attack.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 17 points and 4 assists, and Jordan Clarkson had 14 off the bench.
Final score: Suns win 101-88!
Oh, and DEANDRE AYTON TOOK AND MADE A THREE POINTER!
Suns: Ty Jerome (really, Ty Jerome) — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Dario Saric — Deandre Ayton
Jazz: Mike Conley — Donovan Mitchell — Royce O’Neal — Joe Ingles — Rudy Gobert
Suns: Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee rehab), Ricky Rubio (recovering from COVID-19), Elie Okobo (personal reasons), Jalen Lecque (personal reasons)
Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic (knee)
First half notes
The Suns burst out of the gate to a 21-9 lead and kept hitting a 12-point lead several more times throughout the half
Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges were the most aggressive on the offensive end for the Suns, but you’d have to say that everyone (except maybe Ty Jerome) were aggressive on both ends to jump out to that lead.
Suns took a 50-39 halftime lead despite missing almost all of their three-point shots (2-12). How? By playing very active defense — especially from Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton — and letting Devin Booker dominate (10 points on 4-6 shooting, plus 2 assists).
Also having a good first half:
- Mikal Bridges — 9 points, 4 rebounds
- Cameron Johnson — 6 points, 5 rebounds
- Cameron Payne — 5 points, 3 rebounds
- Deandre Ayton — 6 points, 4 rebounds
- Frank Kaminsky ties Booker for team lead in assists (2)
Joe Ingles decided to make some plays to start the second half, then Mike Conley decided he could beat Ty Jerome off the dribble.
And then it happened.
Less than two minutes into the second half of the first scrimmage, Deandre Ayton DRAINS A THREE. And from the corner, no less, on a catch-and-shoot after a timeout. Meaning, MONTY DREW UP THE PLAY. Thank you Monty. Thank you so much.
Suddenly, the Suns were up to their biggest lead of the game.
But then the Suns lost a bit of their mojo, while the Jazz realized it was time to target rookie Ty Jerome. And Jerome impressively let everyone score on him. Hey it’s a compliment when the Suns are good enough that the opposing team has to actively target a weakness?
The Jazz went on a 12-0 run to cut the Suns lead to 63-61, as they got to 8-18 on threes while the Suns were stuck at 3-15 from the same distance (and DA had one of them!).
By the end of the third quarter, the Suns lead was back up to 73-66 on a quarter-ending drive and finish by Cameron Payne. Suns are shooting 50% from the floor but only 4-18 (22%) on threes, while the Jazz are shooting 48% from the floor and 44% on threes (8-18).
Dario went into that aggressive patented rumble-drive mode to draw fouls against smaller defenders and the Suns built the lead back out to 10 at 80-70 before Utah hit their 9th three to pull back to 7 with just under 7 minutes left.
At this point, the starters appeared to be done as Monty brought in Cheick Diallo to give Dario a breather. The Suns lineup with 7 minutes left: Cam1 and Cam2, JC, Frank and Cheick. The Jazz went all the way deep on their bench too.