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Phoenix Suns Locker Room Report: Tucker, Keef, Thomas talk bad loss to Detroit

The Phoenix Suns lost to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at home, and it's no surprise that they blamed themselves for the loss rather than the Pistons' brilliance.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Same tune, different night.

Lack of focus, lack of effort on defense when it counts the most.

"We got to man up," he said. "We got to stop looking for excuses, stop looking at the standings. It's on every one of us, me included."

To start the same, the Suns gave Andre Drummond nearly a double-double in the first quarter alone (12 points, 8 rebounds).

"We gave up too many offensive rebounds to start the game again," coach Hornacek lamented after the loss. "That was one of the goals we had to go into the game was to eliminate the offensive rebounds, and they had five in the first, I don't know, two minutes."

"We got killed in the paint," P.J. Tucker said.

And of course, the defense was ineffective. Hornacek said pregame that slow-down teams like the Pistons are difficult for the Suns to defend because players work hard for a few seconds on D but then lose interest. So the longer the shot clock goes, the more chance the Suns D will allow a score.

The Suns gave up 30 points TO THE PISTONS in the fourth quarter - a team that came in averaging 92 per night rung up 105 on the Suns.

"It's just taking pride in guarding your guy, trying to get some stops," Hornacek said. "We gave them easy shots. We gamble a little too much. We've seen that over several games now - every time we've gone for a steal late, the guy just holds you off and then they throw it to someone else and they make a shot. They just have to play more solid."

On not having one or two go-to guys, but rather five or six guys who can all score at about the same proficiency in a one-on-one setting, I asked the coach about tough it is for the guys not to have a hierarchy.

"Yes, but I think they're all trying to do that," he said of trying to be 'the man'. "That's the case where you've got to let it come naturally. We're searching for a guy and trying to throw in different guys and sometimes they try too hard to be the guy."

Then Hornacek went down a road he hadn't gone down before: that his point guards are too focused on scoring when they drive to the hoop, that they need to spend more effort setting up teammates for kickouts.

"I thought we had a couple of those late that," he explained. "If we just take it in there with a purpose of ‘I'm not trying to score, I'm trying to give one of my teammates an easy shot.' I don't think we have enough of that on this team. These guys are all very good offensive players, and they think they can take their guys at all times, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. They should be good enough offensively where they can create something for a teammate, and it's on the teammates to cut and move to open spots and give them a passing lane. That's just playing."

That's a frustrated coach right there. It happens when you're on four-game losing streaks.

Now let's get to some video.

P.J. Tucker did not mince words. He had a good game - 15 points, 9 rebounds - and was quite clear on what needs to change to get back on the winning track.

"We didn't play defense," Tucker said. "We gotta just go out and play hard."

"One game at a time," he said. "We gotta stop looking at the board. Just one game at a time. Stop looking too far ahead. It's easy to do, but it's December. We got so far to go, so many games left. We just got to play game to game."

"We fought tooth and nail for those 48 wins, we fought every single night," Tucker.

He wouldn't say the same about this year.

Isaiah Thomas had his own explanation for what happened, which mirrored Tucker and Hornacek.

"We didn't play the same way the whole game," Thomas said. "We are breaking down on defense too much. We got to really lock in and buckle down on the defensive end. We got to battle."

"We are not bringing it every night. That's got to chance, we're digging ourselves a hole."

He had a poor shooting game in his first game back, one of the reasons the second unit didn't hold up their end of the deal to keeping the slim lead.

Now, turn up your sound to catch Markieff Morris who talks pretty low.

"Stopping the ball for getting into the paint," he said of the key to the loss. "It's definitely a team issue, not just one guy."

"We can't play down to our competition, and we can't do that."

There you have it, folks.

It's a team issue. It's an effort issue. It's about fighting and clawing to every win.

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