Suns look toward remaining 78 games after Monday’s win

Oct 25, 2017, 12:56 PM | Updated: 12:57 pm

Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis (8) drives against Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox during the sec...

Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis (8) drives against Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Phoenix. The Suns won 117-115. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Following Phoenix’s 117-115 win over Sacramento, the first of the season, Suns coach Jay Triano moved to 1-0 in the interim role. He said that the team, though happy to get in the win column, will not take too much time to celebrate.

Having just taken over the team after Earl Watson’s firing, Triano said he did not change much in the game plan, and merely allowed his players to run a lot of their own actions. He told his point guards to “look north and south” and figure out how to get their teammates involved rather than trying to please him.

Triano was also satisfied with the aggression and high energy the team started Monday night’s game with but knows the team needs a lot of work to keep its spirits high.

“I think we want to get into a position where these guys can play at that intensity that we played with in the first quarter on a full-game basis, and I’m not sure if we’re there physically or mentally yet,” he said.

Guard Devin Booker said, at least for Tuesday’s practice, that it was a little easier to focus on basketball after the win, moving past some of the distractions, including a new coach and guard Eric Bledsoe’s unresolved discomfort with the team.

“Finally getting that first win of the season was a weight lifted off our shoulders,” Booker said. “So now hopefully we can run with that energy, and hopefully it can be a domino effect.”

Tyson Chandler, who in 17 years playing in the NBA has seen his share of coaching staff changes and trades, said the last few days, along with a win, can be seen as a wake-up for many of the team’s young players. For the rookies, and those in their second year, it was the first time they have experienced such changes that have become so common-place in the business of the NBA.

Under not just a new head coach in Triano but a new head assistant in Tyrone Corbin, Chandler said the process of putting in a new game plan and reaching the newer players would be easier after a victory.

“Younger players listen better after they win,” he said. “So, you can get on them a little more because they’re less defensive and it’s a better time to coach.”

Playing more of a traditional lineup, having replaced small forward Josh Jackson in the starting lineup with Marquese Chriss, a power forward, provided more rebounding and size on defense.

Triano told Chriss he was playing “lackadaisical” basketball, which Chriss said was difficult but was appreciated to let him know where he needed to improve to keep playing high minutes.

“I think him telling me that, it made it real pretty much, that he was saying I wasn’t playing with a lot of energy all the time,” Chriss said. “I think I’m a natural 4, it was different playing the 5, and it was an adjustment period, just learning my role and where I was supposed to be at.”

Moving forward, by cutting down on turnovers and playing a more balanced offense, the team hopes to cut down on opponents’ transition baskets and improve a league-worst 125.3 points allowed per game.

Chandler said this balance, along with not wasting energy on either end, could be part of the formula to continue on Monday’s winning trend.

“When you understand where the shot is coming from, you have a better chance on defense,” he said. “In the first games it’s like a rat race. You wear yourself out. What happens is your defense starts lacking, you start turning the ball over and you miss shots because you have no legs.”

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Suns look toward remaining 78 games after Monday’s win