Phoenix guard Eric Gordon on the Suns’ small-ball lineup: ‘Who’s Jokić gonna guard?’

Jan 18, 2024, 11:15 AM | Updated: 11:37 am

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Gordon said the small-ball lineup the Suns used in Tuesday’s come-from-behind victory “will create a mismatch for any other team.”

The Suns utilized Kevin Durant at center, while Gordon closed for center Jusuf Nurkic.

That lineup with Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Grayson Allen did the bulk of the work while overcoming a 22-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings.

“The key to making that work from an offensive standpoint is everybody can ball, dribble the ball and making the right plays,” Gordon told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday. “You have to make the right plays when you’re doing small ball in defense.”

Gordon emphasized the Suns using the small-ball lineup Tuesday night was the “perfect example” of when to apply it.

He said Sabonis couldn’t figure out who he was going to guard as the Suns were trying to put him in the pick-and-roll so they could stretch the floor.

“You’re trying to take away the big man from the other team,” Gordon said. “That’s why they had to sub out Sabonis a little bit last night because they were like ‘Man, it’s hard to go small-ball against us because who’s gonna guard KD?’

“You’re taking away something from the other team and we have all the ball-handlers and shooters in that group so it’s like, yeah, go ahead pick your poison. The other team has to figure out different things of what they can do to try and slow us down.”

Gordon also thought the small-ball lineup could be applied against other opponents and could create a mismatch when playing the likes of the reigning champions, Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets.

“If we play a somewhat similar style like we did last night, we might not be able to match up one-on-one all the time,” Gordon said. “You have to throw different coverages at Jokić, but other than that, who is he gonna guard?”

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