TUCSON - Even with Amaré Stoudemire sidelined with a knee injury and several new players still feeling their way around, the Suns showed they have plenty of offensive firepower during a Saturday scrimmage at McKale Center.
Shawn Marion scored 13 of his 29 points in the third quarter and newcomer Raja Bell added 24 points for the orange team — hitting 4-of-7 3-point attempts. But the White team used 22 points and 11 assists from Steve Nash and 21 from new Sun James Jones as the two teams battled to an 83-83 tie.
"The new guys who came in all added something so I’m pretty pleased about it,’’ said coach Mike D’Antoni, who watched assistants Marc Iavaroni and Alvin Gentry run the teams — and didn’t have to shell out $50 in per diem money to the winner because there wasn’t one. "Raja and James looked good. We’re going to fill roles and score a lot of points.’’
New center Kurt Thomas added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the white team, working the pick-and-roll with Nash as if the two had been teammates for years.
"He’s a guy that makes the game so much easier for everyone else,’’ Thomas said of Nash. "As long as I set a good pick and find the open spot, he’s going to get me the ball. That (shot) has been my bread and butter the last couple of years.’’
The big questions surround Stoudemire, who will fly to an undisclosed location today for another opinion on his injured knee after consulting with team physician Dr. Thomas Carter and his own representatives in the last 24 hours. Suns general manager Bryan Colangelo said no decisions have been made regarding treatment and/or surgical procedures.
With a little over three weeks until the Suns open the regular season Nov. 1 against Dallas, D’Antoni indicated everyone wants to agree on a course of action, and that will determine if Stoudemire "would miss 15 days, 30 days or nothing.’’
"Right now everything is up in the air (whether it’s) rehab, surgery or whatever,’’ he said. "It’s something everyone wants to get on top of, but make the right decision. Are we going to rehab it or see what’s going on inside?’’
Suns trainer Aaron Nelson confirmed that Stoudemire had complained of "knee soreness’’ on and off during summer workouts. "There were days when he was practicing and he looked good, and then there were days when he would get a little sore and we’d back him off, just like we do with all the players.’’
Leandro Barbosa added 13 points, five assists and three steals for the white team, continuing to draw nods of approval from the coaching staff. "L.B. was quick on defense and looked very comfortable off the ball (at the two-guard),’’ D’Antoni said.
BONUS SHOT: From ticket sales of the crowd of 7,688, the Suns donated $24,000 toward the construction of a new practice facility for the University of Arizona basketball team. Another $13,000 came out of the pocket of owner and UA graduate Robert Sarver from a 3-point shooting contest at halftime featuring former Suns Vinny Del Negro and Dan Majerle and former Wildcats star Steve Kerr — who hit all six of his attempts to delight the crowd.