Phoenix Suns lose preseason opener to Australia’s Adelaide 36ers in shocking upset at home

The Phoenix Suns lost their preseason opener at home to a top-flight Adelaide 36ers from Australia’s 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 since the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 to win a preseason game against a non -NBA team lost to Real Madrid. Current Mavs superstar Luka Doncic played in this Real Madrid team and scored 3 points in his team’s 142-137 overtime win over OKC.

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

Randall hit on 13 of 21 shots, 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 of 3 on offer.

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

Cameron Payne led the Suns with 23 points while Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton each added 22 points. 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 admitted they all had a minute limit and ended up playing a little longer than he intended.

“I actually took them a little higher than I wanted — they got competitive, they wanted to come back, but I didn’t want to let those guys come back,” Williams said.

The Suns, who had the NBA’s best record 64-18 last season, closed in on the 36ers’ lead in the second half but were unable to overtake the visitors as Randall scored 24 points after halftime.

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

“I thought we didn’t read the game well,” Williams said. “Once they did a few [3s] In the first quarter, I didn’t think we were aware that these guys were going to keep taking shots.”

The Suns came to the edge and dominated offensively with Bridges and Ayton. But the basket trade hasn’t been to Phoenix’s advantage. And Adelaide continued their 3-point shooting throughout the game while the Suns were 9-of-34 from outside the arc.

The Adelaide 36ers ended last season in the NBL with a 10-18 record seventh out of ten teams.

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

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Phoenix Suns lose preseason opener to Australia’s Adelaide 36ers in shocking upset at home

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