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Going Gorilla: Have the Suns learned their lesson or will recent behavior problems continue?

Do the recent behavior problems, rash of technical fouls and lack of accountability on the Phoenix Suns raise questions about the team's overall level of discipline? Are the past two weeks symptomatic of a festering wound, or are the players ready to move on?

Does he look nice?
Does he look nice?
Image provided by Dustin Watson

You know what, we're tired. The coaches have talked about that all year. We're just going to take them out when they get technicals from now on, simple as that.

These words were spoken by Phoenix Suns' head coach Jeff Hornacek in a post game interview after the Suns 100-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

We're all tired, Jeff.

The Phoenix Suns have now racked up a total of 46 technical fouls on the season. That's the most in the league, just ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (43) and Los Angeles Clippers (42). Only two other teams have at least 30. The Boston Celtics, with 10, has the least, while the Spurs are right behind them with 11.

Markieff Morris (9) is tied for most in the league. Eric Bledsoe (7) is tied for fourth. P.J. Tucker and Marcus Morris (5) are tied for eighth.

The Phoenix Suns, who have a point differential of +2.3, are surrendering 1.2 technical free throws per game. That is entirely too much when there is such a small margin for error. In the Suns last three losses, which were by a combined 12 points, they had six technicals.

I already noted this disturbing trend a week ago after the Suns' loss of self control was costly in a defeat against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Instead of getting better it got worse. The incendiary behavior of the Suns has now become the recurring theme of the past two weeks.

What the Tuck?

It wasn't the reason we lost the game. Definitely wasn't the reason we lost the game. It was a bad technical and I apologize for the technical... but the tech didn't lose the game.

Does this statement from P.J. Tucker after the game sound like he's taking accountability for his actions or understands the gravity of the situation? Does he sound appropriately contrite? Does the message that these stupid technical fouls absolutely have to end appear to have sunk in?

P.J. could have owned his actions. It's not uncommon for a player who made an egregious error to take the blame for the loss. Does it have minatory implications when a team leader is deflecting blame when he has the opportunity to make an example out of himself?

How often have we heard a team leader say, "This one's on me."

Did P.J. necessarily cost his team the game? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows how the remainder of the game would have played out if Markieff and he didn't effectively take themselves out of the game with their temper tantrums. What we do know is that the Suns did lose the game and these outbursts were a major contributing factor.

P.J. was having a monster game and Markieff is one of the team's best clutch players. These two should have been in the game down the stretch.

Thrown to the Wolves

The Marcus Morris incident was surreal. That type of thing, a player having a meltdown in front of their coach, just doesn't really happen very often at all. It's one of those unspoken rules in sports that the coach commands reverence, not insolence. Players just don't uncork their primal rage right in their coach's face. It's a matter of respect.

Marcus crossed that line per team president Lon Babby, which he stated on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Thursday.

I think we just pass it off as a heat of the moment, emotional reaction. Obviously Marcus crossed a line a little bit, I think he realized that.

Marcus did effusively apologize for his embarrassing eruption, but his teammates couldn't even make it one game afterwards without the same problems rearing their ugly head.

Not one game.

Babby continued.

I think Jeff has complete control of the team, complete respect of the players. I think they respect his openness and willingness to listen to them.

But how can Hornacek have complete control of the team when the players don't have any control over themselves? These are grown ass men acting like puerile little children.

Now some are suggesting that Hornacek may be too nice, not enough of an authority figure to properly discipline his players. Many were suggesting further punishment for Marcus after he went berserk.

That didn't happen. The attention and public shaming was supposed to do the trick.

But the very next game after I facetiously suggested on the site that a Morris brother would pick up a technical against the Spurs... Markieff stupefied my by doing so. His was another of the "can't shut his mouth and gets rung up well after the play is over."

I guess they didn't get it after all.

Will they now?

The offending players are embarrassing themselves, frustrating their fans, setting a terrible example for children, costing the team games, failing their teammates, bringing shame upon the team and raising doubts about their coach.

It's time for them to learn their lesson and move on.


All quotes taken from stories on and

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