Cameron Johnson’s outstanding efficiency in his extremely prepared for return for the Suns was the largest stimulate off the bench (19 factors, 6 rebounds, 2 helps, 2 blocks, one take in 22 mins) that pressed them to defeat the Brooklyn Internet in your home on Thursday.
However the Suns’ 2nd system’s next-best factor was Phoenix metro indigenous and also backup point player Saben Lee, that accelerated their crime and also protection with his 15 factors (6-of-11 capturing, 2-of-4 from deep), 6 helps, one take and also simply one turn over. And also, he got Suns instructor Monty Williams’ depend play the majority of the 4th quarter (rested for simply 16 secs) as the Internet reduced their significant lead that was as high as 24 in the 3rd quarter to 3 in the closing mins.
This was one of the most impressive efficiency for the Tempe Corona del Sol Secondary school item in his 4 video game looks considering that the Suns authorized him to a 10-day agreement on Jan. 11 for his 2nd job with the group. Lee’s been balancing 11.3 factors, 3.8 helps and also 2.5 rebounds in 21.8 mins for the Suns.
It was proper for him to have his finest video game before his household in the group at the only house video game amongst the 4, on the eve of his 10-day agreement’s expiry.
“I didn’t really think like it was pressure to me,” Lee said to The Arizona Republic after the game. “When I step in those lines, it’s the same every time regardless of who’s in the stands, but definitely it’s great that my family’s here and was able to watch me live, so it’s been a great feeling.”
Lee believed he was modest in how many of his relatives got to see him play. “I didn’t have to get too many, but about 10 (tickets),” Lee said.
The Suns have opened Lee’s small window of opportunity as they’ve been short-handed with multiple players out with injuries. That includes their guards Chris Paul (hip), Devin Booker (groin), Cameron Payne (foot), Landry Shamet (hip), and their starting four-man Johnson missing their previous 37 games from his torn meniscus.
“Energy, speed, he can defend, he scored the ball today, he played great,” Johnson said in the postgame about Lee.
“Twenty-nine minutes, six assists, one turnover. He’s a 10-day! He just got here. It seems to be getting in and making a big impact in the game and that’s impressive. He’s quickly become one of us.”
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Lee originally signed his first 10-day deal with the team during training camp on Oct. 11, and was waived two days later.
Now in his third season, Lee was traded with Kelly Olynyk from the Detroit Pistons to Utah Jazz for Bogdan Bogdanonic at the start of training camp on Sept. 26. Utah immediately waived him and the Suns picked him up thereafter, and he made an impressive preseason appearance against Sacramento. After the Suns cut him, Lee was signed by the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 16, they waived him that same day, and joined their Raptors 905 G League team two days after that. On Nov. 23, Lee replaced former Gilbert Hillcrest Prep standout Michael Foster on the Philadelphia 76ers’ roster on a two-way deal.
“He’s just coming in working hard, listening. It’s tough, especially when he was here then leaving to other teams and then everybody’s different, every team’s different,” said Mikal Bridges, whom Lee backed up at point guard against the Nets.
“Then coming back here and we got different type of strategies, defensively, offensively. So it’s great to see him and he’s doing really good.”
Lee entered Thursday’s game at the start of the second quarter as the Suns had a 36-31 lead. Lee seemed unsure of himself with his first lay and caused a broken down play that was salvaged by their backup big Bismack Biyombo. Lee drove the ball to the right lane, then circled around the paint and retreated to the free throw line and faked a shot while he was defended, then awkwardly lobbed the ball to Biyombo in traffic, who then caught it and got fouled on the alley-oop.
Williams immediately called Lee over towards the sideline to correct his mistake in running that offense set.
“I was trying to teach him the reads. Sometimes if we’re running a certain play in a certain environment, if you get too deep then you can’t make the read, and that’s just something that he’ll learn from being in our system,” Williams said.
“Chris (Paul) has been in those situations so many times, he can get to his middy (midrange jumpshot), or he can find D.A. (Deandre Ayton), or he looks for the guy behind him. If you get too deep, you gotta finish. If you get too deep and go under the basket, most teams go to a steal-out, and then you’re playing one-on-one, and you’re probably going to shoot a non-paying two, which is what most teams want.”
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Lee was a quick study and soon after scored nine points including two made 3s, added three assists and took a charge to help contribute to their 14-point halftime lead.
In the third quarter, he got the home crowd hyped up from his six points, which came from two straight contested penetration layups and a breakaway dunk following Johnson’s steal off Seth Curry and outlet pass to Lee to extend their lead to 18.
Lee really did not score in the fourth period, but he helped stop the Nets’ massive run as Kyrie Irving caught fire scoring 21 of his 30 points down the stretch. Lee got one of his two defensive rebounds at 2:06 left to play then got his final assist on a jumpshot from Ayton to extend their lead to seven.
“He caught fire. He was hitting some tough shots, but that happens,” Lee said. “This is a game of runs and we was able to bounce back and finish the game off.”
The Suns breaking their three-game skid against the East’s fourth-place team is a confidence booster to build on. Williams feels he wants to continue building on Lee’s presence as well.
At the Suns’ Wednesday practice, Williams praised toughness, ability to get downhill and defense, and that Lee hasn’t been hesitant to shoot the ball from deep. That fits well in their point-five offense and “let-it-fly mentality” in his return to the Suns compared to when Lee was with them in training camp. Plus, Williams said he believes it’s his job to help 10-day players he’s coached in any way possible to extend their contracts.
“If he’s going to find a consistent home in the NBA, he’s not only gotta just make shots but take them,” Williams said.
In Thursday’s pregame media session, Williams added that he spoke with Suns general manager James Jones on Wednesday about Lee, and is “hopeful” to keep him on the roster despite not knowing how extending Lee would affect the salary cap financials this season.
“He brings something that we need. He’s able to defend and stay in front of the ball,” Williams said. “Since we had him last, he’s getting to the paint in the pick-and-roll and gets the ball down the floor, even when you try to stress him, which is something we’ve struggled without Chris and also Book in the lineup, and also Camera Payne.”