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Biggest Takeaways from the Phoenix Suns Preseason Win over the Portland Trailblazers

On October 12th, the Phoenix Suns improved to (2-1) in the preseason after their win over the (1-1) Portland Trailblazers. The Suns won the game 122-111 in a very impressive performance that included two explosive runs in the second and fourth quarters. What did the Suns show in this win?

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The Depth Is Real

Going into this match-up the Suns were without Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Josh Okogie, and Drew Eubanks among others. Those are four players who will definitely be a big part of the regular season rotation.

Beal and Allen are expected to be scorers. Okogie and Eubanks are expected to be big time defenders. The Suns were without two of their best scorers, two of their best defenders and still won this game.

There were a plethora of players who stepped up in their absence. Jordan Goodwin made his debut for Phoenix. He had nine points, two steals, and two assists. Yuta Watanabe had 10 points off of the bench in the game.

They weren’t the only two players to step up as the Suns went on a 18-3 run to start the fourth quarter with none of their starters in the game.

Explosive Isn’t A Good Enough Word To Describe This Offense

Portland Trailblazer forward Jerami Grant drove to the basket and scored with a lay-up to tie the game at 53 with 5:26 left in the second quarter. The Suns would go on to outscore Portland 23-2 for the rest of the quarter. Phoenix was up 76-55 at halftime.

This type of run won’t be a rare occurrence for the Suns. They have three of the best scorers in the league in Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. What makes this type of run even scarier is that Beal didn’t play.

Durant and Booker only played in the first half. Durant finished with 16 points and six assists. Booker had 18 points and five assists.

Jusuf Nurkic’s Basketball IQ is a Major Addition

Jusuf Nurkic was great in this game. He thoroughly outplayed Deandre Ayton. Nurkic had 17 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 21 minutes on the floor. Ayton had seven points, six rebounds, and three assists in 23 minutes. Nurkic’s plus/minus was +23. He had several moments in this game that showed off his basketball acumen.

This is the play that started the super strong finish to the second quarter. Nurkic sets a good screen that forces his defender to come up and double Booker. Nurkic roles and Booker passes it to him. Phoenix has an advantage in that moment as two players are on Booker. They are basically playing four on three in that moment.

Nurkic has to make a quick but good decision there. Nassir Little made a timely cut to the basket which put the defense in a bad position. Nurkic took advantage of that by faking the pass to Little. Portland reacted to the fake which left Durant open from three. This all happened in less than two seconds. Nurkic’s ability to make the quick and smart decision in those moments will make this offense even more dangerous.

Eric Gordon Should Finish Games With The Big 3

Eric Gordon was the leading scorer for the Suns in this game with 20 points. He was very efficient, shooting 8/10 from the field and 3/5 from three point range. He started this game but is most likely to come off of the bench during the regular season.  The 15-year NBA veteran has lots of experience as a sixth man who can be very productive and also be trusted to close out games. Gordon is the perfect player to play along side Durant, Booker, and Beal in closing moments with the space he provides.

Gordon is not only a very good three point shooter. He is a good shooter from three to four feet beyond the three point line. Defenders have to respect his presence out there which creates so much space for the others to work. Gordon also can attack those close outs with strong drives to the basket. He can initiate the offense and score as the ball-handler on the pick and roll. The Suns having Gordon as an option off of the bench to go along with all of the other offensive talent is going to give the rest of the NBA nightmares all year long.

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