LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It started with a tip-in off his own miss.
A backdoor baseline cut for two, putback dunk, finger roll layup and breakaway score followed before another tip-in, this time off a missed free throw, was added to complete the 12-point second quarter performance.
Oh, and T.J. Warren did it all in less than five minutes and with a bandage to hide the four stitches he received over his right eye the game before.
“I got used it,” he said of the added accessory thanks to the errant elbow of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Johnny O’Bryant. “In the beginning it was kind of tough trying to get used to it, but as I kept running it became a little bit easier for me to play with it.”
Warren, a Suns’ first-round pick in June, drafted 14th overall, scored a game-high 28 points, one of five players in double figures in a 97-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Cox Pavilion on Tuesday.
“Well, my teammates,” he said, “they do a great job of finding me in transition. So, me just running the floor very hard and just having that knack to finish in transition. In the half court, the ball just happens to just fall around and I just pick it up and put it back in. It’s just finding my sweet spots really.”
The win improved the Suns to 2-1 in the preliminary round games, earning the No. 9 seed in the tournament-style format to crown the Las Vegas Summer League Champion.
They’ll play Minnesota, the No. 24 seed, at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
Warren used his 6-foot-8 athletic frame and strength to score nine of his points off six offensive rebounds. He finished with 11 boards, joining Miles Plumlee (15 points and 11 rebounds) with double-doubles.
“We knew what we were getting when we drafted him. He’s a scorer,” head coach Mike Longabardi said of Warren. “He’s got it down, that mid-range (jumper). He’s got a good instinct for the ball.”
Archie Goodwin and Dionte Christmas, who hit four of his six three-point attempts, each added 15 while Seth Curry chipped in 10 points.
Tyler Ennis matched his assist output in the first two games combined with five though he had four turnovers, which Longabardi chalked up to fatigue.
“I left Tyler there in the end because I feel comfortable when he has the ball,” he said.
Warren, the nation’s third-leading scorer with 24.9 points per game his sophomore season at North Carolina State, has totaled 54 points in 63 minutes.
“The up-style tempo really fits my game, just running very hard,” he said. “I’ve just got to build off this and keep winning.”