The Phoenix Suns fell 72-97 at the hands of the Washington Wizards in their second game of the Las Vegas Summer League.
It was a rougher start offensively for Phoenix, and that was only magnified by Duop Reath needing to leave with an ankle sprain. Reath started in place of Olivier Sarr after playing really well in game 1 against the Lakers.
Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh, who only got some late minutes in game 1, made an early appearance in this one along with some bench stars from game 1 like Ahmad Caver and Tyson Carter.
The rough offense continued throughout the quarter, ending with a missed layup by Caver that, while it would’ve been tough, was makable. They were down 13-20 at the end of the frame, led by Louis King and Carter, who each had 4. Suns had an assist-turnover ratio (ATO) of 1-4.
The second quarter saw the Summer League debut of Brancou Badio, who plays his professional ball for FC Barcelona. Badio also played in last year’s FIBA AfroBasket for Senegal and played extremely well, averaging 15.8 points (40.6% on 5.3 3PA), 4.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in 26.6 minutes per game.
Little do most of us know, Ish Wainright was also playing in the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket for Uganda, and the two played against each other in the group stage. In that game — a 38-point win for Senegal — Wainright had 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist, while Badio totaled 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Suns trailed 32-51 at the half, a little reminiscent of the game 7 blowout. They made one three-pointer in the half.
Wainright and Carter helped to close the gap a bit in the third with an emphasis in tempo being a big catalyst, but an and-one by Washington poured water on their momentum.
Poor ball security and poor shooting continued to ail the Suns throughout the quarter with a 3-17 mark from three and an ATO of 6-13. Suns trailed by 20 going into the final frame, 52-72.
More of the same in the fourth. Suns looked sloppy on defense and uncoordinated on defense.
We did, however, get to see one of the players I’m most closely watching in Vegas, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (JLA), who did not look very good at all. On one instance, he started a grab-and-go where he was looking directly down at the ball, and proceeded to lose control for a turnover. He also had quite a few poorly-positioned defensive possessions.
…which is what I wrote right before 6 straight points from JLA off of a baseline cut, straight line drive, and then scoop n score and-one. It could’ve been 8 straight if he made the free throws after each of the last two makes. Fun little spurt from JLA that could lead to a strong game 3.
72-95 was the final, not quite as bad as game 7, though losing still sucks, even in Vegas. Summer Suns fall to 1-1 on the trip.
Three stars of the game
Three stars: Tyson Carter
Two stars: Ish Wainright
One star: Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.
The 1-1 Summer Suns look to get a little game 7 revenge on Tuesday night when they face off against the 0-1 Dallas Mavericks on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. AZ time.
Dallas has a second game before their meeting with Phoenix taking place on Monday when they match up against the Utah Jazz at 7:00 p.m. on NBA TV.