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Game Preview: Camara leads Phoenix against NOLA in Vegas

Toumani Camara (and maybe Jordan Goodwin?) v. Jordan Hawkins and Dyson Daniels in the third Vegas contest for Phoenix

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

What: Summer Suns (1-1) vs Summer Pelicans (1-1)

When: 5:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada

Watch: ESPN2

The Phoenix Suns are somehow coming off a win, no matter how sloppy of a score 73-70 reads. To recap:

  • Toumani Camara followed up his 20-point debut with a nine-point first quarter to help deliver an early haymaker, but his offense dissipated from there, with just two points and four turnovers over the final three quarters. His defense continued to be solid despite that.
  • Late contributions from Jordan Usher (nine points and three steals) and Barry Brown Jr. (14 points and two steals) helped to push Phoenix ahead after Trey Jemison (10 points and two steals) already provided a good effort.

So going into game three, what should we be looking for?

Camara talked about how Miami really started to pack the paint to deter him but said he just needs to do a better job when teams stack up against him like that. He added that the rebounding will be a big emphasis for him, grabbing just three against Miami after eight against Milwaukee.

The standout rookie is slated to next match up against wings such as Dyson Daniels, a versatile 6’9 second-year forward who’s averaging 17.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists over the first two games. He’s a tough defender and won’t make things any easier on Camara.

When defending, Camara will likely spend time following Jordan Hawkins, who after showing out for national champion UConn in March Madness is already doing the same in Vegas. Hawkins scored 16 points in both games, albeit on 25% shooting from distance.

Dereon Seabron has been a monster for the Pelicans, scoring 25 points in his last outing and averaging 10.5 free throw attempts per game, where he’s hitting 76.1%. Don’t be surprised if Camara splits time between Hawkins and Seabron, especially if head coach Quinton Crawford wants to throw smart, physical defenders at Seabron.

With Daniels being maybe the best point-of-attack defender among New Orleans’ recent starters, look for the Suns guards to try and force the issue early. Maybe Barry Brown Jr. can build off the momentum he finished the second game with.

For those wondering, Suns haven’t yet made a public ruling on Jordan Goodwin’s availability after he missed the Miami game with what the team called “knee soreness.” He was a day-of scratch and seems in good spirits, so optimistically, maybe they were saving him to play one of the back-to-back instead of both.

Whether Goodwin joins the lineup or not, this should be a solid game with plenty of competent players on both sides, as well as two teams who value these reps for these particular players. Plus, a win here could put the Suns in good position for the highly-anticipated Summer League tournament.

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