The Suns returned to Phoenix early Tuesday morning after a three-game Eastern Conference road trip. Despite losing in Miami 107-92 Monday night, the team won two out of the three games and currently sits with an even 7-7 record.
The Suns’ start to the season hasn’t been earth-shattering, but they’ve been competing at a higher level than many predicted before the season started.
While on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Show Tuesday morning, Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek indicated that he would’ve liked to have more wins, based on how the games have gone, but ultimately said he’s happy with how the team has panned out so far.
“A lot of people thought we were going to have a rough time with it, so I think at 7-7, we’re off to a pretty good start,” the coach said.
The Suns hung with the star-studded Heat for almost three quarters before the two-time defending champs began to pull away. Hornacek said the team began showing the effects of playing three games in four days on the road.
“When you get tired, you sometimes forget about the little things,” he said. “I think we just ran out of gas. And that that’s the tough part: When you’re tired, you’ve got to try to focus through things and still do the right thing. And we blew some coverages.”
Until that Miami loss, both the Suns and the Heat were the only teams in the NBA to not have a loss by 10 or more points. That’s something even the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, which both have one loss apiece, can’t say.
Even though it was a double-digit loss to the Heat, Hornacek said he still liked his team’s effort. He said last Wednesday’s home loss to the Sacramento Kings was the only game this season where he was not happy with his players’ performance.
“I think they don’t fear anybody,” the coach said of his team. “I think the other positive is the effort; we’re getting that every night. I think they’re playing with confidence. Defensively, they feel they can make stops.”
Hornacek said that on offense, his players aren’t afraid to shoot the ball and that they feel like they can make any shot.
“Sometimes that’s a detriment,” he laughed. “They take some crazy ones sometimes and ill-advised ones, but we’re trying to be consistent with our decision-making, and I would say that’s a common theme right now.”
The first-year head coach also gave an update on leading-scorer Eric Bledsoe, who has missed the last five games with a shin injury. The Suns have gone 2-3 in his absence.
“The update is every day we think maybe he’s got a chance to play, and then he tries to get it loose, and he comes back in and says he can’t play,” Hornacek said. “He’s still day-to-day. We’re hoping Wednesday [against Portland] maybe he can go. Obviously, it helps us to have him in there — have another ball-handler.
“So the guys have picked it up (without him), but we need Eric back.”