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Suns’ Markieff Morris defends relationship with Hornacek

Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris (11) shouts at head coach Jeff Hornacek after Morris threw a towel at Hornacek during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in Phoenix. Morris was suspended for two games by the team Thursday for his outburst during their game against the Denver Nuggets. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Jeff Hornacek's firing, Earl Watson's hiring

It’s been a long time since Suns forward Markieff Morris saw the ball go through the hoop like it did against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

Morris came to life in the first game under interim head coach Earl Watson, going for 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds and six assists in a 104-97 loss.

He credited Watson for adding a little bit a variety to how he was used on offense for the big night.

“I would say not giving them the same look every time,” explained Morris. “Not just catching the ball in the post and facing up. Sometimes catching from the elbow, sometimes catching from the three, different positions, giving them different looks on defense.”

Watson’s positive reinforcement and structure also made a difference for the struggling Morris mentally.

“Any player who gets confidence from a coach is going to make a big difference,” said Morris. “Coach believes in you no matter what he’s going to come back to you. That’s how I really felt last night. He gave us a game plan, we stuck to it. He told me where I was going to get my shots from. He had confidence in me and it helped me out.”

And for a second straight day, Morris continued to reiterate former head coach Jeff Hornacek wasn’t to blame.

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Morris when asked if he didn’t have that type of support before. “It was more of a scramble thing. We were just trying to find it. We had a lot of guys injured, it was just tough with different game plans every game because of our personnel.”

Morris even felt a sense of frustration concerning the perception that he didn’t like his former head coach.

“Honestly, I don’t give a (expletive) how people look at it,” stated Morris. “Like I said, Jeff was my guy from day one. Never had a problem with him even the so-called towel incident, never had a problem with him. Me and him always seen eye to eye, it was just in a tough position.

“People going to make up anything. I don’t recall me ever saying Jeff is my problem. I don’t recall me ever saying I had a problem with Jeff. People are always going to think that. It’s how the game moves.”

Morris also opened up a little bit to discuss the towel incident in a way he didn’t in the past.

“Yes, for sure it was misperceived,” said Morris. “We go back and forth all the time, you go back and forth with players. Everything is at the point we’re trying to figure it out. Nobody seen it, but I can see or look on TV and he say he threw a towel in a coach’s face. Where did he get that? Where did that come from? Guys just want to make you seem to be this type of person, and make me seem to have a problem with Jeff now that Jeff is gone that I scored, and that doesn’t have anything to do with it. I would say it just had something to do with coach coming in and telling guys what it’s going to be and how it’s going to be.”


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