Following Friday night’s 92-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the Phoenix Suns are riding their longest win streak (three games) since mid-December.
While the recent string of success can be attributed to several factors, it’s hard not to think the emergence of recently-acquired forward Marcus Morris has had something to do with it.
Earlier this week, interim head coach Lindsey Hunter praised Morris for the edge he’s brought in practice and noted that the former No. 14 overall pick has a capability of leadership the team hadn’t previously seen.
Although that edge wasn’t readily noticeable during his first three contests in a Suns uniform (14 points in 32 minutes), Morris has certainly provided Phoenix with a boost off the bench in wins over the Spurs and Hawks.
In the Suns’ four-point overtime win in San Antonio Wednesday, Morris — traded to Phoenix on February 21 from Houston for a second-round pick — played all 17 fourth quarter/overtime minutes and was instrumental in the team’s comeback (scored six points over the final 2:51 of regulation and blanketed Kawhi Leonard at the defensive end).
Friday, Morris treated fans in the Valley to an impressive shooting display against Atlanta. The former Kansas star hit a career-high four three-point shots en route to an impressive 16-point performance off the pine.
“Personally, I don’t think (my play) has been surprising, because I know what I can do,” Morris said Friday. “I just never really had the opportunity to go out there and play. The Suns organization has given me that opportunity to play and be myself.
“I like the group we have around. There are a lot of veterans on this team that are showing me the way, keeping me level-headed and focused.”
The addition of Morris has also kept another member of the Suns focused of late, his older brother Markieff. Since the trade, Markieff is averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. In comparison, during the nine games leading up to the deadline the former No. 13 overall pick had just one double-digit scoring night.
“I mean we are out there just playing hard,” Markieff said following Friday’s five-point victory. “For me and (Marcus), we play the game and let it come to us. We make the right basketball plays for the most part. When we are real good on defense it usually translates to wins.”
The twin brothers have certainly won plenty together, as Marcus and Markieff went 95-14 during their three years at Kansas. The duo will try to extend the Suns’ winning ways when the team next hits the court Wednesday against the Raptors.