By now you’ve probably seen the little blowup Phoenix Suns forward Marcus Morris had Wednesday night in Minnesota, one that saw him shout at head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Morris had just received a technical foul for arguing with a referee, and did not take too kindly to something his coach said or did.
The fourth-year pro was removed from the game and did not return. Phoenix went on to win 113-111, and afterwards Morris apologized while Hornacek said things were good and everyone was going to move on.
A guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday, Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said the issue will end about there, with no suspension forthcoming.
“I think we just pass it off as a heat of the moment, emotional reaction,” Babby said. “Obviously Marcus crossed a line a little bit, I think he realized that.
“Most importantly, on his own initiative he apologized to the team after the game, apologized to Jeff, and I think did so publicly as well.”
Babby added an outburst like that is not something they want to see from any of their players, but with a young team like theirs things like that can happen.
“But I don’t think there’s any need to take any further action on it,” he said. “I think Jeff dealt with it the right way, and Marcus didn’t play the rest of the night and shouldn’t have. I think he’s probably learned a lesson and we just have to — this is part of all the growing pains of having one of the youngest teams in the NBA sometimes.”
Part of the issue, it would seem, is the Suns’ penchant for picking up technical fouls. Phoenix leads the NBA in that category, which is neither something to be proud of nor something the team wants to see continue.
Morris, and his brother, Markieff, have combined for 13 of the team’s 44 technical fouls, with the latter brother earning eight of them.
“That’s the one thing about our performance to date that disappoints me that I don’t like, and that is I think that we have just way too much chirping, way too many technicals,” Babby said. “And we’ve talked about it — Jeff’s talked to the team about it and we haven’t been able to manage it quite as well as I would like.
“On the other hand, it does seem to motivate us sometimes, so that’s the challenge. It’s not helping us with the refs, I can tell you that. It just doesn’t. It’s human nature.”
Babby went on to say the team needs to demonstrate more poise because the games are “too darn close for us to be giving away points.” It’s an area of concern, he said, and something that needs to improve.
But while the Suns may not always be in control of their emotions, Babby disputes the notion that it — along with the shouting match — is a sign Hornacek, who is known to be a very nice guy, does not have control of the team.
“I think Jeff has complete control of the team, complete respect of his players,” he said. “And I think they respect his openness and his willingness to listen to them.
“And at the end of the day, when he raises his voice or lays down the hammer I think it has that much greater impact.”
Babby pointed to the team’s record, which has risen to 22-16 by way of the team winning 10 of its last 12 games, as evidence that Hornacek is not having trouble getting his message across.
“I have no question that he is not only in control of the team, but is managing a lot of difficult situations beautifully, and that’s reflected in how well we’re playing,” he said.