There were sure to be wild ups and downs this season, with a Suns team revamped so heavily that it became the second-most inexperienced among NBA teams. Who knew that would mean there could be so much sway in one night, too? The Suns gave up the sort of overwhelming run that should make no team feel like it could win a game. The Suns wasted a 17-point halftime lead when Denver outscored them 33-6 over seven minutes and 21 seconds of the third quarter. But these spunky Suns just don’t know better than to think they can do the same. In the game’s final 14 minutes, the Suns put together runs of 13-0 and 12-0 to continue their shocking success for a 114-103 victory against Denver on Friday at US Airways Center. “Typically, the young guys get panicked and it gets even worse,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Our guys are not doing that, and that’s a great sign. They stay with it. They stay composed.” Playing again without injured point guard Goran Dragic, the Suns needed some brilliance to counter how Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson’s 21-point third quarter off pick-and-rolls outscored the entire Suns’ team for an 11-point Denver lead. The Suns got it from revitalized power forward Markieff Morris. Coming off scoring games of 17 and a career-high-tying 23, Morris topped it with a 28-point, 10-rebound game for his best three-game scoring streak and a 4-2 Suns record. “I’m just taking what the defense is giving me,” Morris said. “At my position, I’m a lot faster than other guys they have at power forward.” The Suns were winless last season without Dragic, but Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and nine assists, including game-icing late baskets, and backup Ish Smith did not miss a shot for eight points in 12 minutes. “We ran him (Lawson) so much and he was trying to score at the same time, and he got fatigued and that played a big part,” Bledsoe said. The Suns had their best scoring half to lead 64-47 at halftime, with Miles Plumlee having a 13-point, seven-rebound half. Morris continued his newfound aggression of rim attacks, not taking a 3-pointer until late in the game and moving in for jump shots when he did take them. Morris made 10 of 13 shots against Denver after going 11 for 13 Wednesday at San Antonio. He outworked his ballyhooed power-forward draft classmate, Kenneth Faried (three points, five rebounds). That huge halftime lead vanished when Lawson turned torrid with a 7-for-9 third quarter that also saw him getting to the line. The Suns turned to their bench, and Markieff and Marcus Morris provided the response, starting with a Markieff 3-point play against Faried inside. Marcus opened the fourth quarter with a 3, and his penetration set up a Markieff jumper for an 89-87 Suns lead.
Markieff Morris leads the Suns past the Nuggets, 114-103
Arizona Republic | Nov 9