It’s an understatement to point out that things haven’t materialized as planned for the Suns this season, but after a blowout loss in Miami on Monday, the team may be facing its lowest point of the year.
Not only did Goran Dragic score 21 points in just 15 minutes of action to help bury his former team, but the Suns saw multiple players get ejected due to excessively physical play.
And to make matters worse, all of that misdirected fire that Phoenix showed wasn’t at all impressive to the team’s head coach.
“We have to find out who on this team is going to be tough,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “In terms of going after balls, we are soft going after everything. Teams just take the ball out of our hands. Maybe they grab your arm but you have to be tougher than that. I don’t know what it is but, when teams get physical, we look like a high school team. We have to get tougher and we have to find tougher guys who are going to battle. I get tired of watching us not go after balls. There is nothing worse to me than being soft and not going after a ball.
“In the second half, we showed some fight. We waited three quarters of getting pushed in the back before we decided to do anything about it.”
For the majority of the first half of the season, the Suns were somewhat firmly in the postseason picture. But after making the midseason trades to send Dragic and Isaiah Thomas packing, and thanks to a surging team from OKC, Phoenix is now just one game over .500, and two-and-a-half games out of the West’s final playoff spot.
Phoenix is reeling, having won just three times in its last 13 games. We’ll see if Hornacek’s comments end up serving as motivation, or simply send the team further into a tailspin.