The Phoenix Suns took an unexpected 134-124 loss to the Adelaide 36ers from Australia’s National Basketball League on Sunday. They became the first team to lose a preseason game to a non-NBA team since the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to Real Madrid in 2016.
Head coach Monty Williams said his team didn’t approach the game the right way.
“Just didn’t give them the respect that they deserve as a pro team,” he said during the postgame press conference. “It’s a great opportunity for us to learn.”
The Suns’ starters had minutes restrictions but still played 22 minutes each. Cameron Payne led the Phoenix offense with 23 points. Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton followed closely with 22 points each. Chris Paul only had six points but contributed with 12 assists.
As a whole, the team shot at 49% from the field and 26.5% from 3-point range. This type of shooting was not enough against the 36ers, who were hot most of the night. Adelaide shot at 55.4% from the field, but the more impressive stat was beyond the arc. The 36ers made 55.8% of their 3-pointers by going 24-for-43. They achieved this even though they are used to the FIBA 3-point line, which is about 18 inches closer than the NBA‘s arc.
“I thought we didn’t do a good job of reading the game,” Williams said. “Once they made a few of them in the first quarter I didn’t think we had awareness that these guys would keep making shots.”
The winning offense was lead by Craig Randall II with 35 points shooting at 61.9% and making nine 3-pointers. Robert Franks added 32 points, including six 3-pointers.
“We are not here to play. We are not scared of nothing,” Randall said postgame. “I’d put my team against anybody and we showed up tonight.”
Adelaide’s game was so impressive that NBA players were watching and had to comment on it.
This was certainly not the way the Suns wanted to start their preseason, especially with how their last game at Footprint Center went down in May. They had the best record in the NBA at the conclusion of the regular season at 64-18, but the no.1 overall seed in the playoffs had to swallow a 123-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Suns have a few days off to shake off their loss to Adelaide and try again on Wednesday when they take on the Lakers in Los Angeles for another preseason matchup at 10. p.m. ET.