Technical fouls once again an issue for the Suns


Phoenix- Enough is enough was the mantra on Sunday night.

The sad thing is, that was what we heard a couple weeks ago after two late technicals cost the Phoenix Suns (26-20) a chance late against San Antonio. After that game, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said he would start benching players if they got a technical for yelling at an official.

It worked for four games at least.

For the second straight game a Suns starter was benched for the majority of the second half for receiving a technical. On Friday night it was Goran Dragic who sat the final 18 minutes after his “T”, and tonight it was Markieff Morris. It’s no coincidence that they lost both games either.

“It’s driving us crazy with the technicals,” an agitated Hornacek said after the game. “We are going to get it straight whether they like it or not.

“We’re not just in this for this year, this is for the next few years and trying to be a team that in a couple years can try and win a championship. It’s aggravating, we are arguing on calls that we even get. What else can you do? I will take the blame for the loss for not playing them.”

Hornacek taking blame for the loss is the politically correct thing to do, but as he stated, what else can he do? The players know that if they yell at an official they will be benched. That statement was made Friday night when Dragic, a player who isn’t usually a guy to get a technical, was benched in a pivotal game against a Western Conference foe.

For the Suns, Morris may be the last guy they can afford to lose in any game considering their lack of depth at the four spot, which was even greater on Sunday with Brandan Wright unavailable due to a sore left heel.

The Suns were up 60-58 when Morris headed to the bench, and were outscored 62-40 the rest of the game in their 120-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers (30-14).

“When (Morris) got a technical he didn’t play the rest of the game, and most of those assists, he would pick n pop, or short pass and we would hit him,” Suns guard Goran Dragic said on the Suns only producing seven assists in the second half after dishing out 16 in the first. “He was making the extra pass, and in the second half, we didn’t have that.”

After the game, Morris talked to the media, but declined to talk about the technical saying, “I don’t want to make this about me.”

Unfortunately for the Suns forward, it becomes about you when you miss all but two minutes of the second half, whether you want it to be or not.

To be fair, Morris doesn’t deserve to take all the flack for tonight, because the events leading up to his benching has been a team thing over the course of the season. In the locker room, players were frustrated about the situation that they have knowingly put themselves in, but know that they will have to adjust to Hornacek’s rule.

“If you have been a basketball player before sometimes it happens,” Suns guard Isaiah Thomas said, who led the team with 25 points on Sunday. “You get caught in the moment and it happens.

“I am not going to talk about the rules the coach has, that is what he has, so you have to do the best to not get a technical. At the end of the day, if you get a technical it hurts the team, so we have to figure it out.”

All is not bad on Planet Orange though. The Suns two losses coincide with two losses from Oklahoma City, keeping them in the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. Phoenix also gets a couple of schedule breaks to close out their eight-game homestand, playing the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, who will be playing their fourth game in five nights, before playing a Chicago Bulls team on Friday that will be on its third game in four nights.

Both of those games are pivotal for the Suns to win before they play in Golden State, then back home to play a Memphis Grizzlies team they have yet to beat under Hornacek.

What has to be tough on the Suns coaching staff, is instead of worrying about the upcoming schedule, they have to figure out what they can do to get players to stop chirping at the referees. Hornacek was as frustrated as I have seen him in his post-game press conference, and leaves me to think a bigger fall-out may be coming if this problem persists.

“Early game, late game it doesn’t matter,” Hornacek said on the Suns reputation for arguing calls. “That’s why we’re trying to break that thing and show the referees that, you know, we had four games… We had a stretch before that and then they went technical crazy and three or for more, then they did it again.

“So something is going to have to be done; we don’t play them, we continue to sit them like this or we get new guys in here that want to win a championship. We will figure it out.”

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