By: Jay Yeomans
Published: April 1, 2019
Jimmer Fredette returned to the floor after a two-game absence and did some very nice things as the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, 122-113.
The former BYU standout tied his NBA season-high with six points on 2-for-3 shooting from the field while knocking down both of his free-throw attempts in six minutes on the floor. It is also important to note that he was a +9 while on the court.
Fredette got things going early on in the second quarter as the Suns blew the game wide open. His first bucket came on a driving layup after beating his man with a quick crossover. He followed that up moments later when he pushed the ball up the court and drilled a step-back jumper from about 18 feet out.
Jimmer added a pair of free throws on a play where he got to the basket and drew contact from Marquese Chriss on a shot that just missed being an and-one.
The 2011 NCAA National Player of the Year also contributed an assist as he snapped off a crisp pass to Josh Jackson who drained a triple to push the Suns lead to 17.
Devin Booker led the way for the Suns in the win with 25 points and 13 assists while Jamal Crawford chipped in with 19 points off the bench.
Phoenix also got 19 points from Jackson to go along with 10 rebounds and five blocks to go along with double-doubles from Dragan Bender and Richaun Holmes.
Collin Sexton paced the Cavaliers in scoring with 21 points. Jordan Clarkson also had a big scoring night with 20 points while Ante Zizic registered 15 points and seven boards in just 14 minutes.
Through 24 minutes in three appearances since returning to the Association, Fredette has scored 12 points while connecting on three of his last five field goal attempts and all six of his foul shots. He has also collected three rebounds, handed out two assists and recorded a steal.
While it would have been nice to see Fredette play more than just the six second-quarter minutes, it was good to see him show that he could be an efficient scorer who could put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. It was also fun to see an elite level stepback to create much-needed space against a much longer defender.
Up next for Fredette and the Suns is a rematch with the striking Utah Jazz on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
It will be very interesting to see how the Jazz players deal with Jimmer after showing some serious disdain for the remarkable ovation that the fans gave him in Salt Lake City a week ago.