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.

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