On Sunday, the Phoenix Suns unexpectedly lost to the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League by a score of 134-124. They became the first team to lose a preseason game to a non-NBA team since the Oklahoma City Thunder’s loss to Real Madrid in 2016.
Head coach Monty Williams said his team approached the game the wrong way.
“We just didn’t give them the respect they deserve as a professional team,” he said during Post-match press conference. “This is a great opportunity for us to learn.”
The Suns starters had minute limits, but they played 22 minutes each. Cameron Payne led the Phoenix attack with 23 points. Mikal Bridges and DeAndre Ayton followed suit with 22 points each. Chris Paul scored just six points but made 12 assists.
Overall, the team was shooting 49% from the field and 26.5% from 3-pointers. This type of shooting wasn’t enough against the 36ers, who were hot most of the night. Adelaide shot from the field with 55.4% accuracy, but more impressive statistics were behind the arc. The 36ers made 55.8% of their three-pointers, shooting 24 of 43. They achieved this despite being accustomed to the FIBA three-point line, which is about 18 inches closer than the NBA arc.
“I thought we didn’t read the game well,” Williams said. “After they made a few of them in the first quarter, I didn’t think we knew these guys were going to keep taking shots.”
The offensive win was led by Craig Randall II with 35 points at 61.9% and nine 3-pointers. Robert Franks added 32 points, including six three-pointers.
“We are not here to play. We are not afraid of anything, Randall said after the game. “I would put my team against anyone and we showed up tonight.”
Adelaide’s game was so impressive that NBA players watched and commented on it.
Randall, Franks and Cleveland in the hoop
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) October 3, 2022
36ers are on a roll, woooooo
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) October 3, 2022
— Josh Giddy (@joshgiddey) October 3, 2022
Definitely not how the Suns wanted to start their preseason, especially after their last game at the Footprint Center in May. They had the best record in the NBA at the end of the regular season with a score of 64–18, but the first place overall in the playoffs had to be swallowed by a 123–90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. .
The Suns have a few days off to get past the loss to Adelaide and try again on Wednesday when they play the Lakers in Los Angeles in their next pre-season game at 10:00 pm ET.