The Phoenix Suns may be seven games over .500, but the Memphis Grizzlies have their number after beating them for the second time in a month Friday night. Suns coach Jeff Hornacek feels like his team sometimes doesn’t throw the first punch.
“We can be tough and small, but what happens is we react second to physical play,” Hornacek said. “In the Clippers game, we were physical from the start, but a lot of times we play and someone hits us then we try to fight back.
“It’s one of those things that veteran guys learn and our guys are young and are still learning.”
The Suns got pounded on the boards by giving up 19 offensive rebounds and Hornacek feels like they are not hitting guys early enough on the block-outs. Guard Goran Dragic called those 19 offensive rebounds the key stat to the game and felt like the team wore down at the end.
“I talked with Channing and he was sore, so probably (that was the key),” Dragic said. “I was definitely tired. I played the whole third quarter and we did a lot of fast breaks.
“Maybe at the end, my legs were a little bit heavy and lost a little bit of concentration, but that happens and I’ll try to be fresh for next game.”
Dragic did note that even though the Grizzlies wore the Suns down at the end, they were still in the game and the outcome could have been different had they come up with more 50/50 balls. He views Saturday’s match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks as a key springboard heading into a long road trip.
“We always respond well after losses and we have to play well before going to east coast on long road trip playing five games in seven nights,” Dragic said.
“Record-wise Milwaukee is not good, but every team in the NBA is dangerous and we can’t fall asleep. We have to play our game and be focused from first minute to last minute.”
Bledsoe’s status still uncertain
The Suns guard did not practice today and went to see someone for an examination, according to Hornacek. Bledsoe sprained his right knee in Los Angeles on Monday and wanted to play last night, but a doctor advised him against it. If Bledsoe is out an extended period of time, then we may see Archie Goodwin play some back-up point guard. Hornacek said they used him there in practice today and are preparing him for extended minutes.
Alex Len update
Len spoke briefly after practice and said his ankle is feeling good and practice has gone well. He is aiming to play the last game of the upcoming road trip on Jan. 13 against the New York Knicks.