November 9, 2012: Suns home after 1-2 road trip, host Cleveland
Marcin Gortat is leading the NBA with 21 blocks.
That’s the most by a Suns player through five games in franchise history, and the most in the league in a season’s first five games since Dwight Howard in 2008.
“Honestly,” Gortat said, “I didn’t expect that I’m going to start blocking like that.”
Perhaps not, but he did make that part of his game a focus in the offseason, knowing the Suns needed better rim protection if they were going to be successful.
And there’s another reason.
“I’m watching actually every game we play,” Gortat said, “and when I hear the (opposing) commentators and the commentators saying that ‘Well, they don’t have too much shot blocking inside so we should have a few layups,’ I feel like that’s disrespecting.”
Gortat is coming off a career-high seven-block performance at Charlotte. He is averaging 4.2 blocks per game, which more than doubles his previous best of 1.5 blocks per game set last season.
“If I’m going to be leading the league with two, three blocks a game,” Gortat said, “(teams are) going to understand that they can’t come into the paint that easily because there’s someone waiting for them.”
The Zeller family reunion will have to wait.
Cavaliers rookie center Tyler Zeller was sent back to Cleveland after suffering a concussion and broken cheekbone against the Clippers Monday.
“He got hit pretty good. It’s part of playing,” older brother and Suns first-year player Luke Zeller said. “Hopefully the swelling goes down and he’ll be able to get a nice pretty mask on and be able to be back. He’ll be alright though.”
There is a third Zeller brother. The youngest, Cody, is a sophomore forward on top-ranked Indiana.
Jermaine O’Neal rejoined the team at this morning’s shootaround. However, he said he would not be available tonight after missing the last two games to tend to a family matter.
Kendall Marshall will be available. He did not play at Charlotte after spraining his ankle during 3-on-3 the day before.
Suns have won 3 of 4 against the Cavaliers; yet, Cleveland has won 3 of 4 in Phoenix
Suns are coming off their first 100-point scoring game of the season
Suns with their second back-to-back, at Utah Saturday