Notes: Suns' Archie Goodwin finding comfort in bench role

PHOENIX – For all of his basketball-playing 19 years, Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin has played a starting role for his team. Now as a project who appears to be capable of earning minutes on a rebuilding team, he’s trying to adjust.

Goodwin finished Tuesday night’s 88-76 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, but it took him a while to get involved. He didn’t play in the first half and after entering with four minutes left in the third quarter, the rookie out of Kentucky missed three three-pointers and turned the ball over on a charge call before he got back to Archie-ball – attacking the rim relentelessly.

“It just has a little bit to do with me getting used to coming in the game out of nowhere like that,” Goodwin said. “All through my career I was a starting player. I just have to get used to my role here and just keep adjusting.”

The rim became Goodwin’s enemy. So he started attacking it.

In the fullcourt, he recorded a steal at halfcourt and took it to the rack for a dunk that got him started. Goodwin later followed up a missed shot with a putback dunk over the top of Channing Frye and Oklahoma City rookie Steven Adams.

“We’re just going to have to try to live through some of (the mistakes) because he does a lot of good things out there,” Hornacek said. “Obviously he had that one tip-in where he went over the top of everybody. His shot – I don’t mind it. He shot it well this summer, he’s struggled so far this year.

“He might be 0-for-10 now in three-point shooting and his first nine shots were all short. At least the last one hit the back rim. He’ll find the middle. ”

But aside from the athletic displays, Goodwin is working on his passing. Hornacek said he’s pleading with the young guard to pass when he attacks the rim, and fellow guard Kendall Marshall was jokingly laughing at the notion of Goodwin passing in the locker room after the game.

NBA big men are too fast to allow Goodwin clear paths to the cup and finishes if he gets there. Once Goodwin starts kicking out to shooters, then the lane will only open up more as defenders refuse to leave the shooters on the perimeter.

“Just me being so aggressive, it opens up a lot of passing lanes,” Goodwin said. “That really was a result of guys sucking in and me kicking it to them. I just have to continue to feed my teammates from my aggressiveness.”

Markieff Morris ejection brings about interesting #HoopIdea

Suns forward Markieff Morris had a rough first half but grabbed five rebounds in five minutes to start the second half. But that success ended when Morris was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul when Thunder forward Serge Ibaka took Morris’ elbow to the face.

Hornacek hadn’t seen the replay, but he defended Morris by wondering about the placement of the boxout lines for the rebounders.

“Sometimes at the free throw line, I think that’s been a question for the NBA that’s come up, is moving that line – that first box line – farther up the lane,” the Suns coach said. “I think the most of us think, the size of these guys, it’s a disadvantage to being in that bottom spot. Any miss is going to bounce where that second guy actually has the advantage. So we’re telling those guys, ‘You got to box out. You got to go into those guys.’ They got to hit them hard to get them away from that spot. Until they move that line up, you’re going to get a lot of that.”

Injury update

Eric Bledsoe suffered a thigh bruise that might limit him against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Bledsoe walked tenderly after the game but Hornacek said he wouldn’t be surprised if his guard is ready to go.

Meanwhile, Hornacek added that Goran Dragic could see limited minutes if he says he’s OK to play against the Nuggets.

On Tuesday, Ish Smith backed up Bledsoe as the point guard and Dragic sat out to rest his ankle. Second-year pro Kendall Marshall didn’t play.

Alex Len finds foul trouble again

Hornacek on rookie center Alex Len picking up four fouls in 10 minutes: “There’s physical play. There’s a lot of pushing by big guys, and that’s part of the game that’s going to happen and he’s got to know what he can do and what he can’t do. He just goes out there and thinks he’s playing physical and shoves a guy and the ref’s sitting right there. You’ve got to do it in sly ways.”

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