Phoenix Suns lose pre-season opener to Australians Adelaide 36ers in shocking home upset

The Phoenix Suns lost their pre-season opener at home to a side from the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League 134-124 on Sunday night.

The Suns, whose last game at the Footprint Center was a 33-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, became the first team to lose a preseason game to a non-NBA team since the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016. against Real Madrid. Current Mavs superstar Luka Doncic played in this Real Madrid side, scoring 3 points in his side’s 142-137 overtime win over OKC.

The 36ers — who normally play at the FIBA ​​3-point line, about 18 inches closer than those in the NBA — shot 24 of 43 from long range. They were led by Craig Randall, who played briefly at the University of Memphis and then Tennessee-Martin before a G League stoppage, and Robert Franks, who combined for 67 points and 15 triples between them.

Randall shot 13 of 21, including 9 of 17 from outside the arc, to lead all scorers with 35 points, and Franks (32 points) was 11 of 20 overall and 6 of 10 from 3 points. interval.

“I just didn’t give them the respect they deserve as a professional team,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to learn.”

Cameron Payne led the Suns with 23 points, while Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton added 22 apiece. Devin Booker had 13 points.

Chris Paul had 12 assists for the Suns, while Mitch McCarron had 16 assists for Adelaide.

The Suns’ starters each played 22 minutes; Williams acknowledged that they were all under a minute restriction and ended up playing a little longer than he had planned.

“I actually got them a little higher than I wanted to – they got competitive, they wanted to come back, but I wasn’t going to let those guys come back,” Williams said.

The Suns, who had the NBA’s best record last season at 64-18, cut the 36ers lead in the second half but couldn’t get past the visitors as Randall scored 24 points after halftime.

The 36ers got off to a quick start behind a 3-point shot in the first half. Adelaide built the first-half lead to 16 by hitting 10 of their first 17 3-pointers.

“I thought we didn’t read the game well,” Williams said. “Once they’ve done some [3s] in the first quarter, I didn’t think we were aware that these guys would keep shooting.”

The Suns were coming to the edge and dominating offensively with Bridges and Ayton. But the exchange of baskets was not to the advantage of Phoenix. And Adelaide continued their 3-point shooting touch throughout the game, as the Suns were 9 of 34 from outside the arc.

The Adelaide 36ers finished seventh out of 10 NBL teams last season with a 10-18 record.

Adelaide will wrap up their US tour against Australian star Josh Giddey’s Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

ESPN Stats & Information and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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