Phoenix Suns 88, Oklahoma City Thunder 76 -- One more to go


PHOENIX — No Kevin Durant and no Goran Dragic made Tuesday night’s game between the Suns and Thunder less than telling, but Phoenix nonetheless pulled out a 88-76 win at U.S. Airways Center.

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns (4-2 in the preseason) with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds and again struggled from the floor by going 6-of-16. And if there was any one think to nitpick Bledsoe specifically, it wasn’t shot selection but the shot itself. It’s becoming more and more clear that defenses will sag off Bledsoe on pick-and-roll action until his jumper off the dribble becomes more consistent — on Tuesday, there was little rotation and shots were falling short.

The game went similarly for both teams. Neither had much more offense than the starting point guard, as Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson led his team with 18 points and four assists. Both teams shot well under 40 percent under garbage time skewed the final numbers, each had miserable percentages from three-point range and each rebounded the many misses evenly.

Will the Suns hint to who’s firmly in the lineup?

There still wasn’t much of a uniform rotation for Hornacek, but maybe taking a look at who played will give a sense of who will stay on the roster and who won’t. Most notably, point guard Ish Smith acted as the backup point guard behind Bledsoe rather than Kendall Marshall.

Slava Kravtsov was the last of 13 Phoenix players off the bench, and Marshall received a DNP along with Dionte Christmas and James Nunnally.

The Suns’ two rookies, Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, both came off the bench in the second half. Len was limited to 10 minutes of play in which he had four fouls and three rebounds. Goodwin’s shot was quite off, but he made up for it with a fastbreak dunk off a foul and then a putback slam over the Thunder’s Steven Adams and Phoenix’s Channing Frye.

Bledsoe started with Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris and Gerald Green.

How testy will it be in the paint?

Well, one might say it got a little heated. Markieff Morris didn’t exactly string together a few strong performances (have we heard this story before?). The power forward played eight minutes in the first half and contributed nothing in the box score but three misses and a personal foul. He grabbed five rebounds in five minutes to begin the third quarter but elbowed Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in the face on a free throw boxout. The result was a Flagrant 2 foul and a trip to the locker room.

Steven Adams, who worked out for the Suns before the 2013 draft, added nine points and eight rebounds for the Thunder.

Does Diante Garrett haunt his old Suns team?

The former third-string guard scored six points and added three assists for the Thunder.

  • foreveris2long

    Gerald Green seemed to play very well so I hope it allows him to be part of the rotation. Frye too seemed to perform well. I am not overly concerned with Bledsoe’s shot as it seems fixable. Keep getting rebounds, assists and steals while working on your shot. The game still seems too fast for Len as I think he had 4 fouls in about 10 minutes, which in my opinion is not surprising considering his youth, rookie status and injury layoff. Glad to see Goodwin play tough after some early misses. Markieff seemed to played his usual suspect game.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Bettors in Vegas made out on this game….OKC opened as 3 1/2 pt favs but was bet down to 1 1/2 by tipoff.

    saw some highlights…
    Bledsoe going coast-to-coast
    Tucker playing great D leading to a turnover
    Gerald (my boy) Green 2 monster dunks
    Archie steal & slam

    Hopefully, the Mo Bros will be gone by next year

    Would love to get Faried but not sure even McDonough could pull that off

  • Scott

    Kravtsov STILL not getting play time points to getting cut, I think.

    Len’s 4 fouls in 10 minutes should temper expectations on his play this season.

    It sounds like Green’s playing better than the Morri.

  • Luka

    I’m starting to think Gerald Green has a place on this team. Maybe not a starter going forward but he could be more than acceptable off the bench.

    This Suns’ team has tremendous athleticism. The slowpoke veterans are gone for the most part. Yeah our shooting will be bad, and there’s no go to guy on the block, but I feel these guys will compete and will get out and run.

  • Luka

    This isn’t the right place but if anyone plays Yahoo Fantasy basketball tell me what you think of my team:

    PG – Rondo
    SG – Evan Turner
    G – John Wall

    SF – Paul George
    PF – Cody Zeller
    F – Jeff Green

    C – Noah
    C – Hickson

    Util – Dragic
    Util – Tobias Harris

    Bench: Stephenson
    Bench: Tony Allen
    Bench: Vasquez

  • Chad

    Scott, are you concerned about Len ? I haven’t been able to watch any pre season games.

  • Azbballfan

    Len isnt going to contribute right away, not atleast until Gortat gets moved and they cut Kravtsov

    which is too bad because i like his game

    i expect Len to get about 18 minutes a game backing up Gortat then about 30 minutes a game after the all star break

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  • Foreveris2long

    Luka, Although I am not in the Yahoo fantasy league I am in an ESPN league. With the exception of not having a center for shot blocks and high shooting %, I like your team. Noah, Paul george and Wall should be huge for ya. Evan Turner in a contract year could be a huge surprise as the 76ers do not have depth which means he should get 30 minutes a night. I also think Jeff Green should have a breakout year in Boston with the stars gone. Good team.

  • Scott

    @Chad -

    I’m not exactly concerned about Len, just pointing out one aspect of his adjustment as a rookie might be to keep from picking up ticky-tacky fouls when he’s being played by a physical player.

    I think most of the fouls he took were when he was playing against Adams, another rookie. So it wasn’t referee bias against a rookie. Just straight up fouling.