Phoenix Suns look to rebound after upset loss to NBL team in preseason matchup vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Suns wing Mikal Bridges wasn’t the only one upset about Phoenix’s 134-124 preseason loss to the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s NBL.

Devin Booker posted a picture of a stern-looking LeBron James at a press conference tagged, MOOD, after the 134-124 stunner at Footprint Center.

“That’s just one of interviews that sticks in my head,” Booker said. “I remember watching it live and it just comes with it. A lot of criticism comes with playing sport or being on TV. It's just a perspective thing. Everybody take a look in the mirror. Nobody's perfect. It’s just how I felt at the time."

Booker said the post was “more of a life statement,” but later said the Suns don’t have any excuses for losing Sunday as the 36ers made 24 shots from 3. The Suns will look to bounce back in their second preseason game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“We’re going to try to win tomorrow, but it is the preseason,” Booker said. “We’re still 0-0 going into the Game 1 (of the regular season Oct. 19) versus Dallas.”

The usually upbeat Bridges was disappointed with how the Suns performed Sunday, stressing how they didn’t play to their usual standard.

“Just our habits, our principles were messed up and stuff,” Bridges said after Sunday’s loss as the Suns trailed by as many as 16 points.

“We’ve got to be better. Just frustration on when we were out there and when the second unit was out there, it was just things that we were messing up on. Just trying to teach guys, but you want to win every time you’re out there and play at our best and our way.”

Coach Monty Williams said they talked about following team habits and principles before the game, but watched his team fail to do those things in the upset defeat.

“We stressed it again at the end of the game,” Williams said. “Just that time of the year. You’re playing pickup ball the whole summer, working on your offensive game, but you get into a situation where you’re playing against a really well-coached team that plays hard and gets unbelievably hot, it can put stress on your habits.”

Oct 2, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams against the Adelaide 36ers at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic
Oct 2, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams against the Adelaide 36ers at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

Williams has continued to preach that importance going into Wednesday’s game.

“Habits, stamina,” Williams said. “I said it to the guys. They’re probably scratching their head every time I come up with another phrase, but our habits have to go up. Transition defense, we’ve got to be a better communicating team on the backside. The ability to contest shots without fouling.”

New Suns guard Damion Lee fouled a jump shooter Sunday.

“Growing the offense away from Chris (Paul) and Book, but also understanding that’s not something we’re going to go away from,” Williams continued. “We don’t take the ball out of their hands for 48 minutes. We’re not going to win a lot of games doing that, but there are veins in our offense that we can grow with those guys away from the ball.”

Williams plans to play key players even more minutes with the goal of getting them as close to “their full allotment” as possible by Monday’s third preseason game at Denver.

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, right, chats with teammate Chris Paul as the team holds an open practice for fans at the Footprint Center on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, right, chats with teammate Chris Paul as the team holds an open practice for fans at the Footprint Center on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

“I’ve got to bump it up a bit tomorrow,” Williams added as the starters played 22 minutes Sunday.

New Suns guard Josh Okogie remains out with a left hamstring strain. He's expected to miss the all four preseason games as the Suns end preseason play Oct. 12 against Sacramento at Footprint Center.

Veteran forward Jae Crowder still isn’t with the team as he and the Suns “mutually agreed” he won’t attend training camp.

“I don’t have anything to report on that,” said Williams about Crowder’s status with the team.

The Suns have been trying to trade Crowder, who helped them win more games combined in the regular season the last two seasons than any other NBA team.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix Suns faces L.A. Lakers after upset loss to Adelaide 36ers