Suns Pregame Notes: Tidbits To Know Before Warriors Game

Nov 9, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) guards Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) guards Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

In the last 10 games since the All-Star Break, the Phoenix Suns have taken their lumps with a new-look roster. They’ve lost eight of their last 12 games and trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by 2.5 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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A five-game homestand could be just the thing to get the Suns back into the playoff mix, but that might also depend on the energy at US Airways Center in the Suns’ first home game since Markieff Morris‘ negative comments about the fan support.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek said he’s not sure how that fans will react for tonight’s game against the league’s best team, the Golden State Warriors.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said. “I think the fans who are probably here for a long time and are the good supporters take offense to it, but he’s probably not talking about those.

“I don’t think you’re necessarily relying on [the fans], but those off games where you’re just struggling with the energy, to get that lift — and again, I think that’s what Markieff is talking about.”

Luckily, Keef and his brother Marcus Morris seem cognizant of the damage those words may have done. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic said Keef doesn’t regret his words, but he plans on earning back the fan support on the court. Before the game, the Morrii also surprised some fans:

The Dubs

However, even the loudest fan support in the NBA won’t change the fact that the struggling Suns will have their hands full with an MVP candidate in Stephen Curry and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Draymond Green.

The Warriors and Suns are two of only three teams in the NBA to average at least 105 points per game this season. They’re also first and second in fast break points, with the Dubs averaging 20.8 per game and the Suns following up with 19.0 per game. In their last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Suns failed to register a single fast break point, however.

With the Suns offense sputtering lately, facing the league’s stingiest defense isn’t quite the remedy Hornacek and company are looking for. It’s anyone’s guess which team will show up tonight, since the last two times the Suns played a big game at home they went from downing the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime to being blown out by the San Antonio Spurs thanks to a 24-point first half.

“We have stretches where we play pretty well, it’s just trying to sustain that and do it for 48 minutes,” Hornacek said. “Against a team like Golden State, you can’t have lapses, you could have a three-minute stretch where you call asleep all of a sudden Curry and [Klay] Thompson make three or four three-pointers.

“We’re going to have to be solid all game long, no turnovers, and I think these are the types of games they kind of get themselves ready for and I expect them to play pretty well.”

The Latest On Len

If the Suns are going to get up for this game, they’ll need Alex Len to look like he’s fully healthy again. Len missed Phoenix’s last game in Cleveland but participated in shoot around and should be ready to go for tonight’s game. In the four games since the All-Star Break, Len is averaging 7.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.

“Alex is pretty tough and he wants to play,” Hornacek said. “We might notice him laboring on it and might have to take him out, but in his mind he’s good right now.”

The Return Of Steve Kerr

Tonight’s game also features the return of a former Suns head coach in Alvin Gentry and a former Suns executive in Steve Kerr. Kerr said he’s not too familiar with Brandon Knight‘s game since Knight has mostly played in the Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks this year, but that Phoenix’s backcourt of Knight and Eric Bledsoe is “moving forward.”

That being said, not a single player from Kerr’s tenure as president of basketball operations and general manager remains on this current rendition of the Suns, and Kerr echoed the sentiments of Suns fans all over when he lamented the way Goran Dragic — his last remaining tie to the organization — exited Phoenix.

“I was a little saddened by the trade because I felt — I mean, I’m with a different organization and whatever the Suns do is none of my business — but I did feel like Goran was really connected to the franchise and to the community,” Kerr said. “It would’ve been nice, just because I like him a lot — and I like the Suns, I like the people in this organization — it would’ve been nice for him to make a whole career here.

“So I was a little saddened by the way it all played out, but again, it’s not my business and they have to do what they feel is right and they got some talent back in the deals so they’re pushing forward.”

Next: Suns Analysis: Breaking Down Phoenix's Recent Offensive Woes

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