Jeff Hornacek isn’t a Phoenix Suns fan. He’s not satisfied with the surprising success of the team to date. As head coach, he wants more.
He made that clear following Sunday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The Suns led by as many as 12 in the first half of play at Oracle Arena, but ultimately took the loss, 104-96. And if you’re looking for one place the Suns went wayward, you won’t be looking for long. It glares at you from the box score.
The Warriors put together a 16-0 run in the middle of their 38-point third quarter and the Suns looked like bystanders for most of those 12 minutes, logging just 17 points in the frame. They managed to regroup in the fourth quarter, getting within four points of the Warriors with 10 seconds left in regulation, but the effort was fruitless.
“We’ve got to be tougher,” Hornacek commented after the game.
“We play tough in stretches — for five minutes here and five minutes there.”
The team’s in-game streakiness, their coach would say, is their Achilles heel. When a high-powered offensive attack — like that which the Warriors managed to put together in the second half — thrusts itself at the squad, they can look lost and hopeless.
The “killer instinct” — the ability to shut down a run by the opposing team and capitalize on leads — seems to be lacking among the Suns personnel, too, as Hornacek pointed out.
“Probably for a total of about 15 minutes a game, we’re tough,” he complained of his team. “The rest of the time, we just kind of float through and expect balls to land in our hands.
“But, you know, you’ve got to go after it.”