Thursday night, if nothing else, the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks learned they have great young power forwards for the future.
The Suns' Markieff Morris and the Mavericks' Brandan Wright both impressed on a TNT nationally televised game. Both are former lottery picks, and up until this year, Wright had looked to be of the bust variety.
Suns president Jason Rowley guaranteed fans they would be satisfied with the team's effort or they would get their money back.
Morris did his best to make sure he won that guarantee, making high-effort plays all night and pulling down a game-high 17 rebounds. He also had a couple of nice defensive plays, blocking two shots and changing a few others.
While his frontcourt mates struggled (Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat shot a combined 4-of-20), Morris shined, even hitting a game-tying three with under a minute to go.
O.J. Mayo came back to hit a tough contested jumper over the much smaller Sebastian Telfair to give the Mavs a two-point lead with 34.6 seconds to go. Mayo had a team-high 23 points for the Mavs
Goran Dragic, who had struggled all night, got the call on the Suns' next possession, but he missed a left-handed layup, which led to an intentional foul and two Darren Collison free throws (he made only one).
Dragic answered by pushing the ball up the court and making a flip layup with his right hand. Another intentional foul led to Vince Carter hitting two free throws. Then Dragic answered with two free throws of his own, cutting the lead to 93-91. Two more VC free throws...
Brandan Wright showed his presence again, swatting away a Telfair three, but Shannon Brown banged a three after the inbound, cutting the deficit to just one.
Wright was active all game. On a team with Shawn Marion, Wright looked much like Marion in his prime. He was running the court, finishing well with both hands and making hustle plays.
Collison nailed a pair of free throws to give the Mavs a three-point lead, which led to a Brown heave from eight feet behind the line, which didn't appear as though it would have counted anyway. Dallas won the game 97-94 despite being 3.5-point underdogs in Vegas.
The game was close, but the Suns didn't play very good defense.
Luis Scola hustled and Dragic was persistent, but how many Suns fans are going to say they are dissatisfied and ask for a refund?
Read on to see grades for the players.