The Phoenix Suns played a much better half of basketball on Thursday against the Denver Nuggets than they did on Tuesday. After trailing 26-16 after the first quarter the Suns outscored the Nuggets 34-26 in the second quarter to finish the first half down 52-50.
You don't want to read too much into it, preseason rotations and all, but the Suns cleaned up a lot of their issues from Tuesday night and finished the half minus-one in both total rebounds (24-23) and turnovers (9-8). Phoenix held Denver to 41 percent shooting from the field but still gave up 24 points in the paint.
Hakim Warrick continues to make a case for more playing time. His outside shot is still falling and his work in the post earned him numerous trips to the line. He led the Suns at the half with 13 points on 4-7 shooting and 5-8 from the line.
Robin Lopez started off the game very active with a block of Timofey Mozgov on the first possession and then an offensive rebound on the other end. His activity on the glass drew two fouls and he recorded 3 points, 2 rebounds and a block in just 3:34 of action before being replaced by Markieff Morris. Lopez didn't put up big numbers but was a defensive presence with solid rotations and good post defense.
The rookie Markieff Morris was very impressive on both ends of the floor although his on-ball defense is definitely a work in progress. He showed no hesitation looking for his offense and led the team in first quarter shot attempts with six attempted and three made. He drew fouls and recorded 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in his 11 minutes.
Ronnie Price was the first guard in off the bench for Steve Nash and while he didn't make mistakes, the Nuggets lead ballooned from 3 to 10 in just two minutes with Nash on the bench. Things picked up in the second quarter and the deficit was back down to four when Nash checked in with six minutes left in the half.
With Nash on the bench, the Suns either ran the ball through the post with Warrick getting several touches and handling them well. If Phoenix did run pick and roll, Shannon Brown was the ball handler instead of Price.
In the second quarter with the starters back in, Phoenix mixed up the point of attack nicely and definitely had a nice flow going with Jared Dudley and Grant Hill on the floor together with Nash, Warrick and Lopez.