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Triano: Marquese Chriss working on not compounding mistakes

Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss (0) shoots over Orlando Magic center Bismack Biyombo (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Early in the third quarter of the Phoenix Suns’ loss to the Orlando Magic, Marquese Chriss got caught by a backscreen.

Magic forward Aaron Gordon cut, slamming an alley-oop dunk and hanging on the rim with Suns center Alex Len in between his legs. As Chriss grabbed the ball to inbound it, he looked toward the referee.

Eight seconds later, chatting up the official as Phoenix brought ball up the court, he picked up his first technical of the 2017-18 season.

It was an example of his emotions getting the best of him.

Interim coach Jay Triano wants to cut down on the second-year forward’s mistakes. Joining the Doug & Wolf show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday, he admitted he’s using a unique tactic to do so.

“I told Marquese, I said, ‘If I see this, I’m going to take you out of the game and I want you to sit there. And when you refocus and kind of cleansed your mind, then let me know, and I’ll put you back in the game. But I’m not going to let you make two mistakes,'” the coach said. “The game is full of mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make turnovers. Don’t make a second mistake.”

Chriss got T’d up 11 times last season. He also ranked seventh by averaging 5.4 fouls per game per 36 minutes, a number that has increased to 5.9 this year, ranking 12th.

A portion of those were due to frustration fouls.

Sometimes, it comes because of finding himself out of position and reaching. Others, Chriss is attempting to make a steal to make up for a bad play on the other end.

Triano sees the effort is there from Chriss, who compared to his rookie year has improved his rebounding (7.2 to 8.8 per 36 minutes), blocked shots (1.4 to 2.3) and assist numbers (1.2 to 2.4).

Defensively, Triano has seen strides as well.

“I have because I think he’s been, off the ball, he’s been in a stance more often and in the right spaces more often,” the coach said. “I think that’s going to come with understanding what we’re trying to do on the defensive end.

“He’s still struggling a little bit with (compounding mistakes). When he does, we take him out,” Triano added. “He’s been great. He sits on the bench, says, ‘Coach, I’m ready now.'”


— Asked if center Greg Monroe, who was acquired from Milwaukee in the Eric Bledsoe trade, could play Thursday against the Houston Rockets, Triano said he would have to run it by the Suns’ training staff.

“He kind of went through a little bit (of a workout) today. I don’t know. If … somebody’s banged up, maybe, but I’m not sure he knows enough of our system offensively or defensively yet,” the coach said.

— Triano said this about the progression of second-year forward Dragan Bender, who scored a career-high 15 points on Monday night against the Lakers:

“His whole attitude towards — I don’t want to offend him — but just towards wanting to get better this year has been completely different. Last year, practice would end and we’d have to yell as he got to the top of the stairs, to come back down and shoot the ball, and now he’s seeking out coaches to get more shots in. It’s kind of a maturation and a desire to want to get better.”

— Triano added that Phoenix needs to get better shooting out of its point guards, Tyler Ulis and Mike James, who could end up playing more off the ball.

“They’ve got to be ready to shoot it when they get it,” he said. “They haven’t been as confident shooting the ball off the catch as I’d like. We showed 10 clips today, we turned down 10 open shots that we thought were open threes. The results were three turnovers and three tough, mid-range shots.”

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