Suns look to finish cross-country trip on winning note
As the Phoenix Suns put the wraps on a six-game, 6,000-plus mile road trip on Wednesday night in Orlando, they find themselves in much the same place they were when they started — trying to establish their defensive chops.
The Suns have lost four of the first five games on the trip — most recently a 106-101 loss at Washington on Monday night.
Bradley Beal torched the Suns for a career-high 46 points as the Wizards erased a fourth-quarter deficit.
An already stressed Phoenix defense was stressed even further by 21 turnovers, leading to 19 Wizards points.
“It was a game we should have won,” Suns guard Eric Bledsoe said. “We've got to do a better job of execution. There are going to be nights when we can't get out in transition. We can't let that stop us.”
The backcourt tandem of Bledsoe and Devin Booker continues to carry the offensive load for the Suns (4-11). Bledsoe had 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists vs. the Wizards, and Booker made 6 of 9 3-point shots en route to a 30-point effort. Booker is averaging 19.9 points per game, and Bledsoe is at 18.1.
The Suns will also be looking for a big game from center Alex Len. In two games vs. Orlando last season, he put up 51 points and grabbed 28 rebounds.
Orlando (6-8) had turnover issues of its own on Monday night against Milwaukee. The Magic built a 14-point lead in the first quarter, but the lead wouldn't stand up in the wake of 19 turnovers in the first half and 24 overall — allowing the Bucks to escape with a 93-89 win.
“We felt like we were pretty solid in the half court, but those turnovers really hurt us,” guard Elfrid Payton said. “They were able to get out in transition, and that's what they excel in.”
Evan Fournier leads the Magic in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Third-year forward Aaron Gordon is averaging 10 points per outing.
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- Eric Bledsoe
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