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Game Recap: Suns net first Summer League win in sloppy victory over Heat

It wasn’t the prettiest game, but Phoenix pulled out a dub.

2023 NBA Summer League - Phoenix Suns v Miami Heat Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

No one should stay in Vegas for more than three nights. It’s a city that consumes you, tires you, and drains your soul. And wallet. That is what Summer League basketball appears to be in stretched. Consumed. Tired. Soul-less. Guys are grinding for relevancy, but there also are forcing the issue at times which leads to low-scoring, ugly basketball.

That’s what we witnessed on Monday afternoon between the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. 44 turnovers. 21 missed free throws. In the end, the Suns outlasted the Heat, winning their first game of the Summer League, 73-70.

Phoenix had four players scored in double figures as Barry Brown (14 points), Gabe Brown (11), Toumani Camara (11), and Trey Jemsion (10) combined for 45 of the Suns’ 72 points. Jamal Cain led all scorers with 18 points for Miami.

There would be no Jordan Goodwin in this one, as the Suns chose to sit him after he left early in game 1 to nurse a sore left knee. Therefore the Suns start Grant Sherfield in his place.

Here is how it went down on Monday afternoon.

Game Flow

First Half

The Miami Heat came out sloppy, and their 4 turnovers out of the gate led to an 8-0 Suns lead behind 5 quick points from Gabe Brown. Some were unforced errors, other were forced by the Suns’ active hands in the passing lanes.

The sixth turnover by the Heat led to rookie Toumani Camara throwing down a highlight transition dunk.

Camara, who doesn’t appear to be timid in his first two professional games, continues to dictate pace rather than being reactive. He cuts to open space elegantly, attacks opposing defenses, gets deep into the paint and makes himself available, and switches well on defense. A natural lefty, he finishes well with both hands.

Toumani ended the first quarter with 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting and 2 rebounds. Despite nine turnovers by Miami, and due to their three-point shooting — they went 4-of-7 in the quarter — the Suns only led 20-18 after one.

Trey Jemison, who I put a little piece about out yesterday, made his presence known in Q2 by banging the boards and giving his team second chance possessions. He’s a big body who can move his feet, and is always making the opposition feel him.

Miami started slow in the second as well, missing their first 6 shots. Phoenix couldn’t capitalize, however, and stretched the lead to a mere 6 points with six minutes left in the half.

Nikola Jovic, who the Heat drafted with the 27th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, had a slow start. He averaged 21.5 points in the California Classic, but scored a total of 0 points in the first half for Miami. Orlando Robinson, who scored 36 points in their first game, earned his first point with 5:16 left in the second.

Phoenix received a boost from Georgia Tech’s Jordan Usher late in the half as he accounted for 7 quick points for the Suns, including a highlight dunk of his own.

Like game one against the Bucks, the Suns put an impressive run on the opposition to end the first half. The Heat shot 37% from the field, while the Suns shot 48%. Suns up 39-30 at the half.

Second Half

Miami saw more engagement from Robinson and Jovic as it was clear that head coach Caron Butler was focused on getting them involved on the offensive side of the ball. Robinson bullied the Suns on the glass and drew plenty of contact along the way. Trey Jemison hit the 6 foul make early. Thankfully, you get 10 in the Summer League.

Toumani found himself stuck on 9 points after the first quarter, and even with numerous attempts at the line, couldn’t break on through to the other side of double digits. Through three quarters he was 3-of-8 from the line, which shows how he was attacking the cylinder and simply not being rewarded, or should I say, rewarding himself.

Reminder that Toumani was a 63.1% free throw shooter in college.

Phoenix did well in hitting the mid-range jumpers, something we’re use to seeing from the big league club. Miami dropped in coverage on most possessions, and the Suns took advantage. The Heat outscored the Suns by 4 in the third, and took a 58-53 lead into the fourth, despite shooting 20% from three and 52.4% from the line.

The Suns continued their mid-range attack in the fourth, and with Gabe Brown and Marcus Carr consistently finding space and knocking down jumpers, the Suns kept the Heat at arms length. But never count out Heat Culture and three-point shooting. With 4:29 left, the Suns were precariously up 68-64.

Miami tied the game up on a Jamal Cain, 70-70 with a minute left, but an alley-oop to Trey Jemison put Phoenix up with 40 seconds left in the game.

Trent Sherfield traveled with 10.9 seconds left, which gave the Heat one last chance to tie or win the game. Drew Peterson, who was 3-of-4 from deep, missed the game winner.

Suns win, 73-70.

Next up for the Suns? They’re playing the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow night! We’ll see you then Bright Siders!

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