Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry called his team's 104-93 win over the Portland Trailblazers "a typical preseason game" on Friday night. He got a balanced effort in scoring, with Markieff Morris leading the scoring with 14 points and three others (Shannon Brown, Luis Scola and Wes Johnson) scoring a dozen. They hit 10 three-pointers, eight in the first half. They held Portland to five of 20 shooting and 15 points in the opening quarter.
Those would be the things that Gentry said "were some good things that we did."
For the second game in a row, the starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat was very productive. They put up 28 points against the Blazers in the first quarter, following up a 30-point opening quarter against the Sacramento Kings in Wednesday.
Finding five players, "guys that can play together," is one of the priorities that Gentry has in the preseason, and it looks like that the current starting lineup could be what we see on Opening Night. 58 points in two first quarters is what Gentry describes as "hard to do when you just throw a bunch of players together."
In particular, the player of Goran Dragic and Luis Scola set the tone. Scola had eight points and Dragic four and three assists in the quarter.
Said Gentry about Scola, "You can see that he's just a very effective player and had a good feel for the game."
As for Dragic, who finished with eight points and nine assists, Gentry said, "I like the way he played, you know he's getting himself in better conditioning where he can really push the ball and run."
Dragic's dribble penetration was a big reason why the offense was able to hit those first half threes.
Another bright spot was second year forward Markieff Morris, who came off the bench for 14 points in 16 minutes. He did, though, pick up four fouls in his first five minutes of play. He played in the second half only picking up one more foul, which Gentry praised him for, saying he "did a really good job of playing with the fouls he had."
But despite the win in which they never relinquished the lead, there were things to improve upon. Portland grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, but that wasn't it according to Gentry. "Offensive rebounds are a huge concern," he said in his postgame press conference. "And I think the dribble penetration, we can do a better job of keeping the ball out of the paint."
But in the end, with the win, it accomplishes something the team wants to do right now -- "create a winning environment."
"Overall, a good effort for the second preseason game," said Gentry. "I think we still just have to continue to get better."
If anything else, it looks early like we know who will be starting games and that the offense looks like it will continue as in years past to put up points.