NBA Summer League: Suns advance past Heat to play for title

Another hectic game down, another win for first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek. The Phoenix Suns advanced to the Summer League championship game on Sunday by beating the Miami Heat 91-89 behind a game-winning shot from Markieff Morris and 19 points from vet P.J. Tucker. In the title game, they will face the also undefeated Golden State Warriors on Monday.

The Suns pushed the ball once again and used a balanced attack to break the Heat. On Sunday, it was second-round pick James Ennis who scored 25 points and hit four three-pointers and James Nunnally’s 24 that kept Miami close. But with the Suns blowing a steady lead, it was Morris’ shot in traffic — and with contact — that broke a 89-all tie with 22 seconds left that gave Phoenix the win.

What else was notable on Sunday?

Marshall is a floor general

It’s probably a solid argument to say the Kendall Marshall and Diante Garrett fight is closer than most expected. The first-round draft pick and the free agent rookie of last year have gone through their individual ups-and-downs, and against the Heat, Marshall had a fine enough showing. At this point, it’s become clear that he’s not going to wow people, but he’s a floor general in the truest sense. He directed traffic, was very safe with the ball and still finished with six assists. If he learns that he doesn’t need to force anything, he’ll be better off. Marshall finished with six assists and a turnover in just 17 minutes.

Garrett got bigger minutes and more of them. He scored six points and had three assists. Oddly enough, he had the second biggest plus-minus of plus-13 while Marshall had the lowest of minus-11.

Tucker shows his scoring improvements

P.J. Tucker might not be a go-to scorer, but seeing efficiency on a decent volume of shot attempts at the Summer League is a good thing. He hit 8-of-11 shots and hit his only three. Ideally, any improvements on the Suns’ roster will give Tucker the opportunity to prove himself as a Thabo Sefolosha of sorts, taking open shots and making them because of the opportunities. He did that Sunday, and under a numbers-savvy coach like Hornacek should be able to continue growing.

Goodwin hits the boards

Archie Goodwin’s potential as a fastbreak scoring threat is of course aided by his rebounding numbers. He grabbed five boards against Miami, two of which were offensive — and one included an impressive putback tip.

Again, his youth was on display. He scored seven points and didn’t find himself the same opportunities as some past games. But the wealth was spread across the roster. Dionte Christmas and Arinze Onuaku both scored 10 points and gave Phoenix a solid showing in the first half before they pulled away for their second-half lead.

And of course, the now-veteran Morris twins put in a combined 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The last number is the best news of the summer league.

Scouting the Warriors

The Golden State summer league squad is led by guard Kent Bazemore and forward Draymond Green. Suns fans familiar with the NAU Lumberjacks might be familiar with another name. Guard Cameron Jones has been a big-time scoring threat for the Warriors. He had 16 points against the Charlotte Bobcats in the Sunday nightcap.

  • Scott

    While it would be nice to have the Suns go through SL unscathed by losses, so much winning bodes ill for the Suns in their search for a high lottery pick in 2014.

    Hornacek, I’ll grant you one more win in Summer League, and then it’s back to THE PLAN. ;)

  • Foreveris2long

    Great win for the Summer Suns. Marcus Morris really rounding his game to be a suitable small forward. Marquieff still kills me with those 3s and poor defense on the low block but I think the effort to do some things in the paint is there. I really like Christmas but the roster is crowded. I have no doubt they would like to trade Marshall but I am not convinced there are any takers. While he had a decent game yesterday, when the offense slows he is at his worst. D. Garrett got the closing minutes when the game was on the line and rightfully so as he kick started the offense in the 1st quarter with his bench buddies. Maybe the Suns could get a 2nd round pick in 2017 for Marshall.

    I remember before the draft there was some discussion about James Ennis going in the 1st round. Since I had seen him play during the college season I thought no way should he go in the 1st 35. I think Miami got him with the 50th pick and he could be a steal. He looks really good at the NBA summer league level. He absolutely looks better than some players drafted in the 1st round.

    Good luck tonight Summer Suns

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  • john

    See you in June, LeBron.

    Is it too early?

  • phxsunsfaninla

    Phoenix gets Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro atlanta gets Michael Beasley and Kendall Marshall. I would do this in an instant lol. Cap space saver for next year too because they are both on expiring contracts

  • phxsunsfaninla

    Oops morrows now on the pelicans

  • Brenton

    No one is taking Beasely unless the Suns take back a horrendous contract or give up a first round pick. Offering Kendall Marshall as a sweetener will probably get you hung up on by most NBA teams, and I dont think the Knicks have anything useful to offer back.

  • Brenton

    Players you could trade Beasely for:

    Kendrick Perkins; Gerald Wallace; Joel Anthony(maybe); Kris Humphries(maybe); John Salmons(maybe)

    I cant think of anyone else.

  • Suns Fan In Portland

    If we were trying to win then hell ya, I’d take Gerald Wallace, but right now Beasley’s our ticket to a lottery pick next year…

  • john

    Beasley needs to play every minute. Riggin’ for Wiggins!

  • Jeremiah

    I honestly don’t care if Beasley gets traded or not, but I would really like to see Brown and Marshall get traded so we can get them out of Goodwins way. Also It free up spots for guys like Christmas, Garrett or Babb.

  • Thunder Dan

    In this year’s SL Finals the Suns will beat the Warriors 1-0

  • Thunder Dan

    I’d gladly trade Beasley for Rasheed Wallace right about now

  • Scott

    It’s possible Hornacek made a mistake by shortening his rotation. The starters were missing shots, which may have been due to weak legs.

    Of course, GS had fine legs, and they’ve played just as much. ;)