Phoenix Suns: 3 Takeaways from Their First NBA Game This Season

Roberto PayneContributor IDecember 26, 2011

Phoenix Suns: 3 Takeaways from Their First NBA Game This Season

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    The Phoenix Suns squared off with the New Orleans Hornets today in the season opener for both teams. The Suns narrowly lost the close game 85-84 and had a chance to win as time ran down but a turnover from Markieff Morris ensured the defeat.

    Even with the loss, there were a couple of things to take away from the game, such as Robin Lopez's huge game and Markieff Morris' exciting debut. Read on for three takeaways from this game, both positive and negative.

Robin Lopez Looks Much Better Than Last Year

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    Robin Lopez entered the game early when Marcin Gortat picked up his second foul and didn't disappoint. Lopez immediately grabbed a couple of rebounds, and his energy and hustle gave the Suns a couple of extra possessions early.

    One aspect of his game that has finally returned is his athleticism. His back injury really hampered that aspect of his game, and thus his rebounding and defensive intensity were affected.

    The key to Lopez's revived effectiveness is his health. Lopez was hurt for most of last season with a back injury and couldn't get a rhythm going. Now he will be counted on to give Gortat a break and anchor the defense when in.

    Lopez ended up with 21 points and seven rebounds and really played much better than I had expected.

Turnovers Are a Big Problem

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    Seven turnovers in a half is too much so when the Suns had that many in the first quarter alone, you know there needs to be work in the decision department. Even with the lockout taking away time,

    Obviously, with the lack of preparation time due to the lockout, it's expected for teams to be a little off on both ends of the floor but the Suns need to work on taking better care of the rock. Silly turnovers like Robin Lopez throwing an inbounds pass downcourt is probably not a good decision.

    Normally, these are mistakes that can be fixed through practice but that's not really feasible this season. Practice sessions have been drastically reduced this season so these errors will need to be addressed on the fly during the game.

    The team rebounded well to only give up 14 total turnovers, and the last three quarters showed that the Suns can be very careful with the ball when needed.

Markieff Morris Is Exactly What the Suns Needed

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    Markieff Morris was the 14th overall draft pick of the Phoenix Suns and was expected to bring defensive intensity to a Suns team in desperate need of help on that side of the ball. The team was definitely happy to see that exactly happen.

    Morris came in early and provided rebounding and energy to the Suns. Specifically the duo of Morris and Robin Lopez was very active off the bench as both contributed offensively and defensively to stabilize the Suns bench unit.

    The energy persisted throughout the entire game and he finished with seven points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals in a great opening performance that will be remembered for his turnover at the end of the game that gave the Suns the chance to win the game.