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Phoenix Suns Locker Room Report: Tucker, Bledsoe, Knight, Len talk loss to Celtics

While the Phoenix Suns offensive numbers are exciting to look at in the box score, their defense has become horrendous. Despite outrebounding the Celtics (50-42) and out-blocking them (7-1), the Suns somehow gave up 115 points to one of the worst offensive teams in the league. In the three losses prior to this one, the Suns surrendered 127, 111 and 112 points.

"We've got to figure out a way to stop these guys," said coach Hornacek after the loss. "It's a combination of all kinds of things - taking pride in guarding a guy by yourself, pick-and-rolls or just throwing it around and we're closing out hard. It's almost like we're playing to keep them in front of us and let them do whatever they want. We need to start getting after it that way and if you foul out, you foul out. I thought they out-hustled us, especially in that first half. There was a lot of balls that bounced at the free-throw line area and we were nowhere to be found; we were backing up. You've got to want it more than that."

Such is the case when you're mired in a losing streak, including 0-3 since the trade deadline. The Suns were 28-20 just three weeks ago, matching their high-water mark of 8 games over .500 this season. Since then, they have gone 1-8 with losses to some very beatable teams in that span.

Asked what is the main difference between the Suns and the Bucks, new guard Brandon Knight stated the obvious.

"Just the philosophies," he said. "Every team has different philosophies. Milwaukee was defensive-based team, everything was defensively drilled and here it's a little bit geared to our offense. Every team just has different philosophies."

Milwaukee is coached by Jason Kidd, a former defensive standout who for a decade was one of the top defenders in the league. The Suns, on the other hand, are coached by Jeff Hornacek who preaches scoring with just enough defense to win.

In their first year under Jason Kidd, the Bucks are 2nd in the league in defensive efficiency with a lineup full of youth and journeymen. This just a year after being dead last in defense in the entire league in 2013-14 under coach Larry Drew. And after losing middle man Larry Sanders. Certainly, they have taken to Kidd's defensive teachings and the huge drop off in Phoenix must be jarring to Knight.

"They were making shots," he said of the Celtics making 10 of their first 15 three point attempts. "But we weren't really helping them. A lot of them were shoot-a-round shots, not contested so we got to do a better job just contesting shots, making sure that every shot is contested. Everybody's a NBA player for a reason, so we got to acknowledge that and respect the players."

Forward P.J. Tucker, who had a double double in his efforts to carry the Suns to a win, was flummoxed.

At least Alex Len had a great game, with his seventh double-double of the season.

Eric Bledsoe preached patience.

"We're still not out," he said. "As bad as it may seem right now, we're still not out. At the end of the day, we still have to think positive. We got a Denver team that's struggling, just like we are. We're looking forward to going in and try to get a win."

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