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Going Gorilla: Phoenix Suns are once again among the league leaders in technical fouls

Another season is nearing its midpoint and the Suns once again find themselves among the league leaders in team technical fouls. Are the Suns a dirty, undisciplined team and is it time for decisive action to be taken to deter this type of behavior?

Temper is a weapon that we hold by the blade.
Temper is a weapon that we hold by the blade.
Jim Coughenour

It might surprise you to hear that the model citizen Suns have been in the top third in the NBA for most team technical fouls every year since 2005-06.

Now the Suns are in a three way tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers for most technical fouls in the league.

In fact, the Suns, Thunder and Clippers were top three in the league last season... and all three were top five the year before that.

Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris lead the charge for the Suns with seven each, tied for second in the NBA. Right behind them are Marcus Morris and P.J. Tucker with four (tied for 12th). Goran Dragic (3), Gerald Green (2) and Isaiah Thomas (2) are also in the top 50.

That's seven of the Suns core nine players in the top 50. That's not good.

Who else is near the top of the league in technical fouls?

Russell Westbrook is first overall with nine. Blake Griffin (7) is tied for second and Matt Barnes (6) is tied for sixth.

Basically, players that I routinely hear Suns fans describe as dirty, selfish, arrogant and entitled. They are called punks, jerks, scumbags... and worse. That's the group the Suns find themselves associating with. Slumming around in the NBA's quagmire of moral turpitude.

Are the Suns different? Victims of circumstance?

Or does Markieff walking like a duck and quacking like a duck... make him a duck. This isn't Markieff's first rodeo. He was tied for sixth in the league in technicals last season with 12. He and his brother seem to share a penchant for using inappropriate language at inappropriate times. Perhaps a swear jar is in order?

So the Suns find themselves cozily in the company of the teams their fans despise. Technical fouls make strange bedfellows. Not surprisingly, the Suns have had a couple tussles with the Thunder and Clippers this season. Dirty is as dirty does.

The most recent was on New Year's Eve, when the Suns and Oklahoma City racked up a total of seven technical fouls. Markieff Morris and assistant coach Mike Longabardi were both rung up and Alex Len received a flagrant one right before halftime during a crazy sequence of events in which Russell Westbrook was ejected for taunting the Suns' bench.

The Thunder regained its equanimity during halftime, though, while the Suns piled up two more technical fouls in the second half. Tucker got one in the third quarter and Bledsoe was whistled for another with 5:07 remaining in the game. Kevin Durant made both freebies. The Suns lost the game in overtime. It was another addition to a list of tough losses that have defined this season.

The first game between the Thunder and Suns this season was a 112-88 romp in favor of Oklahoma City, but Tucker, Green and Westbrook still managed to get techs nonetheless.

The last time Phoenix played the Clippers was a pretty unmemorable game, except for the image of Blake Griffin unbelievably bouncing in a game winning shot that will forever be burned into my brain. Of course there were also four technical fouls in that game. Three on the Clippers (Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford - Crawford was ejected) and one on Goran Dragic.

In the first matchup between the Suns and Clippers this season the teams amassed six technical fouls. Matt Barnes (2) was ejected while Marcus Morris, Bledsoe, Thomas and Green all acquitted themselves admirably for the Suns.

What is it about these teams that bring out the worst in each other? That's 20 total technical fouls in four games... all of which the Suns lost.

Sometimes it's good to play with emotion, but the Suns are letting their emotions play with them.

It needs to stop. Their misconduct is costing them games and blemishing their individual reputations as well as that of the team. What does it say about the Suns that I would advise people against taking their children to see them play at home against the Clippers or Thunder later this year? I feel I am justifiably concerned that those games won't be representative of the family product the Suns are trying to sell.

When did the Suns become the bad guys? When did they become a dirty, undisciplined team?

With 2015 just a few days old, how about this for a New Year's resolution...

The Suns need to cut this crap out. They're better than this.

And if they don't, Jeff Hornacek needs to do something about it.

Perhaps benching Markieff's ass for the rest of the game next time he picks up a stupid tech will help get the message across. Then afterwards let him deal with this teammates that he let down and explain to the fans why he can't control his temper during a game.

As James M. Barrie once said, "Temper is a weapon that we hold by the blade."

It is felicitous that the creator of Peter Pan would be able to add to this dialogue since the Suns have been playing like a team full of boys that never grew up.

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