PHOENIX SUNS

Has the light bulb turned on for Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson?

Jan 15, 2018, 7:23 AM | Updated: 8:03 pm
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson (20) drives on Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic in the sec...
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson (20) drives on Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic in the second half during an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Phoenix. The Pacers defeated the Suns 120-97. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Phoenix Suns have lost four of their last five games. Those losses have come by an average of over 19 points per game.

That stretch has also been punctuated by injuries to starters T.J. Warren and Marquese Chriss.

But, there are bright spots to be found. Namely, rookie forward Josh Jackson’s play.

Jackson had a career high 21 points while adding six rebounds and three assists for the Suns in a 120-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers Sunday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The 20-year-old has responded quite well to being benched in a game Jan. 2 against the Atlanta Hawks. In the last four games (he missed Friday’s game vs. Houston), Jackson has averaged 15.8 points, to go along with 5.8 rebounds and three assists. He’s shooting 47 percent from the floor and a blistering 46.7 percent from 3-point range.

Jackson credits his conversation with interim coach Jay Triano for turning around his play.

“I’ve been kind of struggling a little bit all the way to this point in the season, but I think most of it comes from not having too much confidence and not knowing a lot of things, to be honest,” Jackson said Sunday night. “Every game, I’m just trying to learn something new. Like (Sunday), I learned a couple new things and I think we’ll be ready the next time we play the Pacers.”

In the three games prior to his one-game benching, Jackson played just 11.5 minutes on average, scoring 4.7 points and shooting a woeful 26.3 percent from the floor.

Turnovers had also been a problem for Jackson, but less so recently. In his last four games, Jackson has dished out 12 assists against only seven turnovers.

For most of Sunday night’s contest, the rookie from Kansas showed no ill-effects of the right hip strain that kept him out of the Houston game, but he did admit it caught up with him late.

“It felt really, really good the entire game up until the end of the fourth quarter, and then I started to get a little bit of pain in it,” he said.

The Suns travel to Portland to take on the Trailblazers Tuesday night. The game tips off at 8 p.m. and can be heard on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station with Hall-of-Famer Al McCoy and Tim Kempton on the call. Pregame coverage starts at 7:30.

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