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Toumani Camara shines in Summer League opener for Suns

The 52nd overall pick led the Summer Suns in scoring with 20 impressive points.

2023 NBA Las Vegas Summer League - Milwaukee Bucks v Phoenix Suns Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns kicked off Summer League against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, losing their opener 84-75 in a game that didn’t count, but had plenty of highlights. Toumani Camara led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, Jordan Goodwin added 12 points, and Grant Sherfield scored 11 points off the bench.

Game Flow

First Half

The Suns got off to a flyer in the opening quarter and it was exactly what we Suns fans wanted to see, an explosive start from Suns players Toumani Camara and Jordan Goodwin.

The pair had 18 of the Suns first 20 points of the game, showing off skills on all three levels. Camara in particular was very impressive on both ends of the floor and displaying outstanding hustle on defense to force Bucks turnovers and strong on the boards on both ends, Tou finished the quarter with 11 points, 5 rebounds and a steal. Goodwin adding 9 points as the Suns took a 27-15 lead at the end of the first.

A slower start to the second quarter as Toumani took his first rest, the Suns struggled to hit the scoreboard early, the Bucks went on a run to close the game to 7 points early in the quarter as the Suns struggled to take advantage with missed free throws. Jordan Goodwin continued to show his talents penetrating and finishing at the rim.

The Suns settled back into the game after the Bucks mini-run and continued to impress on the defensive end of the floor, but they missed an opportunity to really put the Bucks to the sword with poor free throw shooting (50% for the half).

The story of the first half though was the Suns number 52 draft pick Toumani Camara. Tou impressed everyone in the building with his 16 points on 6-8 shooting. He was patient on the offensive end of the floor, taking good shots and making great decisions, his cutting to the basket and finishing was impossible for the Bucks to stop as Tou put his stamp on the game, out performing Bucks Summer League star MarJon Beauchamp.

The Suns took a 50-40 lead into half time.

Second Half

The third quarter started slowly for both teams as they felt each other out, the Bucks started the better of the two as the physicality of the game lifted with Buck center Tacko Fall trying to decapitate players on screens. The Bucks getting back within 5 points early with a 9-0 run, Jordan Goodwin struggled to find the bottom of the net and the Bucks penetrating to the basket with ease. While the Suns cruised, the Bucks went up a notch.. As the Bucks closed to within 2 points, Goodwin left the game and went back to the locker room with soreness in his left knee. The Suns managed to stay in the contest before the Bucks finally hit the lead with two and a half minutes remaining. Camara went down with an elbow to the stomach which took the wind out of his sails. Ultimately, the third quarter was devoid of highlights for the Suns, especially with Goodwin and Camara going down with injury. The Bucks took a 67-63 lead into the last quarter.

Camara returned to the floor to start the last quarter as the Suns tried to get the game back on our terms, while new Suns coach Frank Vogel hit the microphone and gave us some insight into the season ahead. The Suns intensity on the defensive end lifted again and the hustle from Jemison at both ends of the floor started to open up the offensive end of the floor as the Suns drew level with 6 minutes remaining. The Bucks gained control with the return on Tacko Fall to the line-up before a Toumani poster gave the Suns life with just under three minutes remaining.

The Suns continued to struggle to hit the bottom of the net in the last two minutes, as shot selection started to suffer as the Suns tried to close the gap, but ultimately, the Bucks were able to close out the game with Tacko having a big impact in the final minutes of the game, ultimately winning 84-75.

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