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Aftermath: Suns' Watson, Morris, Goodwin on the "fight"; but Booker showed the Bright Side

The big news story was the sideline fight between Markieff Morris and Archie Goodwin, but the best Phoenix Suns story of the season's first half was the play of teenager Devin Booker.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns lost again, this time to the Golden State Warriors as the season's first half mercifully comes to an end.

The Suns enter the All-Star break with a pair of 9-game losing streaks on their resume as the losing streaks bookending the worst 24-game run in franchise history. In between those 9-game streaks, the Suns managed to fit in 6-gamer with only a pair of lonely wins to break up the monotony.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Golden State Warriors have set an NBA record for the BEST 52-game start in NBA history, winning 48 games against only 4 losses.

So, the Suns/Warriors game was a 50-point blowout right?

Coulda shoulda, but the Suns played with spunk and the Warriors had fun with trying new and inventive ways to score and only won by 8. I swear they did a couple of backflips, and might have even bounced the ball in off someone's head but maybe I'm imagining things.

Let's get this out of the way. All I'm doing here is posting video and quotes. I'm about all talked out on Markieff Morris.

The fight

Here's some quotes on it.

Watson talked at length, even opening the presser on it without prompting.

"There was one point this year when the two lived together. They're the closest on the team. They're like big brother little brother. I only caught the end of it, but the situation is this: this team has a lot of passion, we want to fight, we want to win. We expect everyone to play their hardest and we expect everyone to be accountable for how they play. We have to learn and will learn how to continue to grow and we have to control our emotions. Other than that, those two are really close. The team is not split. Those two are the closest on the team, they have a bond, a unique relationship. As we've seen, unique relationships can lead to something else throughout the league on other teams."

"I wouldn't say it was a fight, I would say it's a pushing match, that's what I saw. I've never seen NBA players really fight. They push and then run behind referees. It's what we do best. We know how to flop. Markieff was trying to motivate Archie. I haven't gotten the details on how everything went since I just saw the end of it, but when I turned around I saw people trying to break it up saying, ‘Let's go, let's go, let's go.' Other than that, Archie came in and ended up having a fair game. It's hard when you're 21 years old and there's pressure, there's constant turnover, and you're trying to lead a team to get a W. What we have to realize is we have to embrace the challenge. We can't let the challenge create emotions. That's part of the process, embracing the journey. And once we embrace it and realize this, once we realize our individual limitations then we'll go beyond them as a team. Right now our team as a whole does not realize individual limitations on how bad we need each other."

"If guys didn't believe they could win. That would have never happened. When guys come into the game and they feel like they have to get on people to play harder or they want to be more vocal, it means they can win. If we believed we were going to lose no matter what, guys would come into the huddle and there'd be no conversation."

(On what this incident says about Markieff)

"When you're a leader, no leader is perfect. We all have leaders that we either work with or we take the role or we work for. And we all have situations with the leader we work for throughout our life has not handled situations the correct way, but the love is there."

"I've said over and over again, I really see a lot of potential in Markieff beyond what people see now. I'm with him every day. Markieff is a guy that trust is big. I told Markieff over and over, no matter what, I'll stand up for you, but you have to give us everything you have, and he does. When you come into anyone's life, and Coach Brown was big on this, and you want them to grow as a person, you have to connect in one place first. Our connection was basketball, opportunity, trust. And over a period of time, it's up to us as a staff, myself included, mainly to grow him as another person off the court in character. It's not going to happen overnight. No one at 25 or 26 is defined for the rest of their life...I've never seen anyone give a testimony about how their life changed, if they never had obstacle before the change. So the most tested to me is going to be the most blessed. He's going to have the most opportunity to come reach back and that's what we want to build."

Here's the Watson video to listen for yourself.

Archie Goodwin talked a bit but really didn't want to expound too much.

"We’re family. It happens. I love him like a brother, he loves me. That’s all I have to say about it. No more comment."

And now here's Markieff's take on it.

"That's nothing. That's part of being a leader, being a big brother. Sometimes little brothers and big brothers get into it, that's what happened. Wrong place, wrong time."

"That's between us as a team. What happened, wasn't supposed to happen. Wrong place, wrong time. That's my little brother and I've been here for three years. I know him really well, I know his family. We're really close. It happens sometimes."

"You hold everybody accountable when you're a leader of a team. You hold yourself accountable. Like I said, I apologized to him. That's my little brother and we're going to move forward with no hard feelings. It was a tough loss tonight, but we're going to regroup and get back after this break and do some things."

"I've been in this role before, just probably not here but college and high school. I've jacked a couple guys up in my day, it happens. It's just different because everybody has their cameras on you. It's a tough season, everybody will put it down as everything is going bad. It's not even that, it's just a big brother with a little brother. Holding them accountable, sometimes it gets physical. It's what happens. There were no punches thrown, none of that, just a couple pushes and shoves, a couple ‘I love you's' and we done with it."

Here's the vid.

Chalk this up to yet another stupid thing that Markieff Morris did. Whether he was provoked or not, whether he was coming in with good intentions before blowing his lid, whether he was in the right or the wrong, Markieff Morris once again showed why he is NOT a guy to lead your team.

Trade this guy already, McD. I don't care that Watson loves him.

The rook

The real story for Bright Side-ists should be that Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker very nearly became the youngest NBA player ever to record a triple-double.

Booker played the point for much of the game after Goodwin melted down in the opening minutes. The rookie showed poise and moxie with his passes that no one else on the roster - injured or healthy - seems to show. He had three beautiful lobs to Tyson Chandler and a number of other scoring passes.

Still, he is now the second youngest NBA player to ever record a point-assist double-double. I'll let the Suns game ops take the credit here.

* Devin Booker recorded 15 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds tonight. Booker is the second-youngest player in NBA history to record his first point-assist double-double at 19 years and 103 days old. LeBron James is the youngest player in NBA history to record a point-assist double-double, recording his first on Dec. 20, 2002 (18 years, 355 days), and achieving the mark six times before reaching 19 years and 103 days old. The previous second-youngest player in NBA history was current Warrior guard Shaun Livingston, who recorded his first point-assist double-double on April 12, 2005, while with the L.A. Clippers at 19 years and 213 days old. The last Suns rookie to record a points-assist double-double was Steve Nash on Nov. 14, 1996, at Vancouver, with 17 points and 12 assists. Booker's 10 assists were a career-high, besting his seven-assist night on Jan. 26 at Philadelphia. This was his second career double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds vs. Charlotte on Jan. 6).

Check out the history of teenagers with at least 10 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in a game. Using the rebounds stat excludes Livingston.


Only LeBron James did this at a younger age.

So when people question why Devin Booker is creating so much excitement in such a lost season, this would be the reason.

Now Booker heads to All-Star weekend to represent the Suns in the three-point shooting contest. With Nerlens Noel's injury, the Rising Stars Challenge needs another U.S. player. Shouldn't Booker just slide right into that spot?

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