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.