Landale cements role as Suns fire in NBA
October 24, 2022 / 8:40 pm
A gut-busting Jock Landale performance off the bench has sparked Phoenix’s second unit and secured a win on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Landale, the only Australian big man in the NBA this season, had nine points, 10 rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes as the Suns won 112-95.
He finished with a bloodied face after copping a stray arm while contesting a lay-up.
But that flesh wound only enamoured Landale further to the Suns fanbase, who have been searching for a back-up centre – and more bench starch in general – to support Deandre Ayton and their star-studded starting five.
After a rookie season of limited opportunity at San Antonio, the 26-year-old’s workrate at both ends and confidence to finish in traffic close to the basket showed he could be the man as last year’s best regular-season team seek a deep finals run in 2023.
All that was lacking was the usually reliable three-point shot, the Melbourne United NBL champion missing both attempts as he finished with four-of-eight from the field.
A block that wasn’t credited on the stat sheet and a tough three-point play also swung momentum back to the Suns after Devin Booker (35 points) had dominated the first half.
Former NBL import Torrey Craig was also effective off the bench, with eight points, nine rebounds and two assists for the Suns.
Teammate Chris Paul became the third player in NBA history to reach 11,000 assists as the Suns established a 20-point halftime lead.
Marcus Morris scored 22 points, John Wall added 17 points and Paul George had 16 points in the Clippers’ home opener after winning their first two games on the road.
Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench in his second game of the season.
The Suns moved to 2-1 with victory, Landale missing a tough lay-up on the buzzer that would have forced overtime in their only loss of the regular season.
Elsewhere Josh Giddey had 10 points, two rebounds and five assists but his Oklahoma City dropped to 0-3 after a 10-point loss to Minnesota.
And the Lakers also fell to 0-3, coughing up a final-quarter lead to lose 106-104 to Portland.
Neither Matthew Dellavedova or Dyson Daniels logged minutes in Sacramento and New Orleans’ losses respectively.
Ben Simmons and Patty Mills will suit up for Brooklyn (1-1) against Ja Morant’s Memphis (2-1) in one of eight NBA games on Tuesday.
AAP (C) 2022
Jock Landale played a key role off the bench for Phoenix as the Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers. (AP PHOTO)