Hornacek: Suns need to take advantage of games against beatable teams

Dec 2, 2014, 8:27 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm
Follow @AZSports...
LISTEN: Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns head coach

Playing against teams likely destined for lottery picks, the Phoenix Suns may have been served a reality check last week.

The Suns lost 122-97 to the Denver Nuggets on Friday, following it up with 93-90 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Although not considered among the worst teams in the league, games against the Magic and Nuggets are very winnable for a Suns team playing a schedule loaded with highly-talented Western Conference opponents.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was a guest Tuesday with Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and he mentioned the team may be losing these games by coming in with a relaxed mindset against the less-intimidating teams.

“When we play the good teams, our guys get fired up. They get mentally ready,” said Hornacek. “It seems like, at times, against teams we are supposed to beat, we just think that, ‘OK, we are just going to the gym to play a pickup game and we’ll beat ’em.’ It’s a tough thing to get through the guys’ heads.”

Of the Suns’ eight losses this season, three have been to teams with a winning percentage below .400, including a 103-95 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets(4-14) on Nov. 14. These matchups against vulnerable opponents may be critical down the stretch for a team that missed the playoffs by one game in 2013-14 and is once again hanging around the last post-season spot in the conference.

“I think the youth has something to do with it,” said Hornacek. “We stressed it at the beginning of the year, even prior to entering the season that we were one game off.

“Every game counts but sometimes it’s a natural tendency and when you’re young, you think you’re invincible and you think you’re going to go out there and have a great game and all of a sudden, some guy outplays you and outhustles you.”

The coach added that this may be a part of the team’s growth, and some hiccups on the schedule may happen along the way for the league’s seventh-youngest team.

Inexperience has not only been apparent in the team’s results against weaker teams, but in their ability to take care of the ball.

The Suns have the seventh-most turnovers in the NBA, with the majority of the giveaways coming from stars Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.

“I think most of our turnovers are when a guy is trying to do too much,” said Hornacek. “They are our best players, but at times, you have to drive with the purpose of drawing someone to you and then throwing it out to the wide open guy and not make the home run play and just make the simple pass.”

The Suns may have an opportunity to remedy both their poor play and turnover issues in their next game against on Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are currently three games below .500 and are causing little havoc for opposing offenses, forcing the NBA’s fourth-lowest turnover total this season.

The Suns-Pacers game starts at 7 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Penguin Air

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game One of the Western Confere...
Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s NBA staff still mighty high on 2022-23 Phoenix Suns

If you were wondering why the Suns have attacked the offseason with tinkering, it might be time to remember the past two full seasons.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
1 day ago
Kevin Durant attends "NYC Point Gods" premiere at Midnight Theatre on July 26, 2022 in New York Cit...
Dan Bickley

Kevin Durant’s exit could get messy for Nets, maybe Suns, too

By my calculations, there is only one way Durant lands in Phoenix. There must be a second act of petulance even worse than the first.
2 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the basket as Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns defe...
Arizona Sports

Report: Kevin Durant tells Nets owner to pick him or coach, GM

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant reportedly met with team owner Joe Tsai in London on Saturday and reiterated his trade request.
3 days ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Gold...
Sam Graveline

ESPN’s Pelton gives Phoenix Suns ‘C+’ offseason grade

Despite the Phoenix Suns being among the few teams to dominate the offseason news cycle, ESPN's Kevin Pelton gave them a C+ grade.
3 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns throws up a shot during the second half of the NBA game at ...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson to coach at Basketball Without Borders camp in Australia

Cam Johnson will be coaching some of the top prospects from the Asia-Pacific region at a Basketball Without Borders camp in Australia.
5 days ago
Hornacek: Suns need to take advantage of games against beatable teams