PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris apologized via Twitter for hitting coach Jeff Hornacek with a towel Wednesday night during the team’s loss to the Nuggets.
“My frustration got the best of me last night. It won’t happen again. I apologize to Jeff. My teammates told me I hit coach with the towel,” Morris said, before adding, “In no way was that towel intended for him. I just want to help my team win so much. That’s my focus moving forward. #Foe”
The team responded to the incident by suspending Morris for two games, Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers and Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both games are at home.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough met with Morris on Wednesday to discuss the incident. The forward told McDonough he didn’t mean to hit Hornacek with the towel, but the general manager said he looked at the totality of the situation to reach the conclusion of suspending Morris.
“His point was that he was not trying to throw it at Jeff, that was not his intention,” McDonough said. “He did throw a towel out of frustration, I think he kind of threw it behind him and it hit Jeff. I told him how it looks from our perspective and he understands that.
“Again, it’s not something he’s happy about. He was remorseful coming in today.”
Towel tossing or not, Phoenix saw Morris’ actions during the 104-96 loss to a young, injury-plagued Denver team as detrimental.
McDonough believed it was more serious that last year’s bench blowup, when Marcus Morris was seen yelling at Hornacek on the bench because he didn’t like a no-call.
“That happens in the heat of the battle,” McDonough said. “When it’s venting about play on the court, I think that’s different than throwing a towel or words that have a more negative tones that were exchanged, goes on a little longer.”
Hornacek has already moved on from the incident.
Both he and McDonough liked what they saw from the Suns at practice Thursday morning.
“Guys really went at it, played hard. Again, (we) went over some stuff defensively that they really focused on,” Hornacek said. “That’s in the past and I think our other guys will step it up.”
Morris was not at practice and will not take part in team activities during his suspension.
A day after Hornacek called out the guards for getting “lit up” and asked for the rest of the team to play with the same toughness as forward P.J. Tucker, Phoenix focused on its defensive issues during practice.
“Our goal is to keep someone where we want to keep them. For example, on pick-and-rolls, we’ll keep it one way and then guys are always able to switch over on us and come back the other direction — it gets us out of whack,” Hornacek said. “Again, today’s practice they came out and really, really got after it and pushed guys to where they wanted.
“You could come in today and see if they were moping and say, ‘OK, well this could be bad.’ They were great today.”
The Suns hope that effort and intensity carries through Christmas off and into the game against the 1-30 Sixers.
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