For a week designed to bring the team together, Saturday was all about splitting it up.
The Suns broke into two groups at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion for the annual training camp intra-squad scrimmage. This year, team owners and the military played spectators as assistant coaches Dan Majerle and Igor Kokoskov’s team beat Bill Cartwright and John Shumate’s squad, 107-94.
Jason Richardson scored a game-high 25 points in a losing effort, while Lou Amundson posted a team-best 21 of his own in the win. Nash collected a game-best 11 assists.
“The guys played really well and made me look good out there,” joked Majerle, whose team led throughout.”It’s a little bit of fun, but it’s also work. It’s nice to see them go out and compete after three days of beating on each other and doing drills. It was good to see what kind of shape they were in.”
Amar’e Stoudemire, who racked up 18 points and four boards, added, “It was a simple scrimmage, but if felt pretty good. We are competitive, so it was a pretty physical game out there. It’s all about getting our cardio up and getting in shape and also impressing the fans out here.”
Grant Hill sat out the game as a precautionary measure after tweaking his leg in Friday’s lone practice session, while Robin Lopez left the very physical game early with an ankle injury.
“Intensity was one of the things Coach Gentry talked about from Day 1,” said Alando Tucker, who posted 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. “He never had to say anything about our effort. That’s one of the things were committed to — going hard. When we push ourselves, everything else will come. You have to get through the physical part first and then comes the mental part. We still have a long way to go, but that’s why we’re doing this.”
The coaches spent lunch “drafting” their teams in preparation for the matinee contest, giving Alvin Gentry a chance to sit back and watch his players in action during the scrimmage, albeit on opposing sides.
“We always play with good effort,” Gentry said. “The other things are very correctable. We just have to continue playing hard and get in a little better shape. We did good things in the rotations. We didn’t quite get there on some of the plays, but last year, sometimes we wouldn’t even be in the same area code. This year, we’re almost there. We’ll continue to improve.”
For photos of the game, along with all the week’s training camp action from San Diego, CLICK HERE.