Suns’ Gortat promises better rebounding

Jan 6, 2012, 4:31 AM | Updated: 4:50 am

As a Suns starter last season Marcin Gortat grabbed almost 11 rebounds (10.8) a game.

Through the first six games this season, he’s averaging 6.5 rebounds — unacceptable by his standards.

Gortat, however, is coming off his best rebounding performance of the season. Against Dallas Wednesday night, he grabbed 10 boards — one more than his previous two games combined. In addition, he scored a season-high 22 points, giving him his first double-double of the year.

“Let’s just don’t get excited,” he said trying to downplay his effort the night before. “People found me in the right spots. I hit a couple jump shots. I made a couple of moves. I’m glad I’m finally getting back to the way I was playing last year.”

That includes getting back to full strength.

Gortat said he has full range of motion of his right thumb and will shed his splint for Friday’s game against Portland. Gortat has played with a splint since fracturing the thumb in the preseason opener.

“It’s definitely going to help me catching the ball. It’s definitely going to help me to fight for the position (rebounding).”

The Suns have improved rebounding the basketball compared to last season, ranking just outside the top 10. However, keeping the opponent off the glass has proven to be more challenging. The Suns have been outrebounded in all but one game and only Sacramento ranks worse in giving up offensive rebounds.

“I believe that a lot of guys and obviously the coaching staff rely on me to (rebound),” Gortat said.

He understands though he can’t do it alone. “I think we all have to box out. We all have to get those rebounds. And all five guys got to fight on the boards.”

Head coach Alvin Gentry made that a point of emphasis during Thursday’s practice, repeatedly pointing out Dallas crashed the glass for 19 offensive rebounds.

“You’ve got to go get (the basketball). Whatever it takes: tenacity, box out. I mean there’s no technique. There’s not anything we can tell you except when the ball goes on the board you’ve got to go get it.”

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