Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images
Phoenix hung on to win against a good Toronto team in their final scrimmage before entering the stretch of games that will actually count.
It’s Mikal Bridges’ bubble and everyone else is just living in it.
In their final tune-up game before the real deal begins on Friday, Phoenix defeated the Toronto Raptors by a score of 117-to-106.
The Suns starting unit was firing on all cylinders and the second unit didn’t let up and closed the game off after some very encouraging performances from the starters.
Mikal Bridges: 26 PTS, 5 AST, 3 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 10/12 FG.
Ricky Rubio: 22 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK, 4/6 3PFG.
Cam Johnson: 19 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 4/8 3PFG.
Devin Booker: 9 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1/5 3PFG.
Deandre Ayton: 7 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 0 BLK, 3/8 FG.
This game started with a really quick offensive tempo and an up and down pace that was enjoyable to watch with Phoenix outscoring Toronto 35-to-29 in the 1st quarter.
Early on Mikal Bridges had back-to-back aggressive moves off the dribble with a floater and then a tough up-and-under finish off the glass. The entire first half was the Mikal Bridges show, as he completely dominated on both ends. Here was his ridiculous stat-line in just 19 first half minutes.
We saw an aggressive Ayton in the start of the 1st quarter as he drew a foul after finishing a three point play, then attacked off the dribble from the top of the perimeter to finish over Ibaka which was an extremely encouraging development to see, though the rest of the half (and game) he wasn’t very engaged or involved in the offense at all.
It’s notable to mention that Cam Payne was the 1st guard off the Suns bench, followed by Jevon Carter. Jerome didn’t check in until nearly the end of the 3rd quarter and he promptly hit his first three pointer that he attempted with 2:30 to go in the quarter.
Payne and Carter both in before Jerome
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) July 28, 2020
At the half, the Suns led 66 to 60 after each team scored 31 points in the 2nd quarter. Ricky Rubio and Cam Johnson both had awesome outings as well that were sort of overshadowed by Mikal’s monstrous performance.
In the third quarter the ball movement was excellent and the pace of the game was remained at a high level as Phoenix outscored them by 5 stretching their lead to 11 entering the 4th quarter. Booker also threw down this nasty left hand poster over Pascal Siakam.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 28, 2020
The 4th quarter unleashed the ultimate small-ball lineup of Carter-Jerome-Okobo-Payne-Kaminsky. 4 point guards and one big is certainly… something, though it’s not like Monty Williams exactly had a ton of options to work with since Kelly Oubre Jr. and Dario Saric are both out.
The miniscule bench crew actually held their own, as Jevon Carter made a few nice defensive plays and was his usual pestering self, Jerome hit some shots, and even Okobo made a couple nice moves with all that rust he’s almost certainly dealing with right now.
Kaminsky played well leading the bench mob with 11 points and 6 rebounds and was asked about that small-ball lineup after the game he said, “It was an interesting lineup… but it’s what we got out here.”
Kaminsky was also asked if he was surprised by Mikal Bridges performance so far and he said, “You’re not super surprised because you see the work he puts in and how he plays in practice.”
On Friday at 1 p.m. MT the Suns will play their first “real” game of the bubble against the Washington Wizards.