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Fourth-Quarter Rally Falls Just Short
By: Brad G. Faye, Suns.com
PHILADELPHIA - Following a three-game skid, the Phoenix Suns fell just short of winning their third-consecutive ballgame on Sunday when they fell to the 76ers, 104-101. The contest – which was the first of six straight on the road for Phoenix – was one that Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said he was pleased with in terms of effort, but not in terms of the final result.
“I would say it was a great effort game for us, but we’ve got to do a better job of executing defensively,” Gentry said. “I thought we did a great job down the stretch, but if you go back in the game, you’ll see we had plays where we just didn’t execute defensively. The effort is great and we continue to compete, but we have to be able to make the plays that win games for you.”
Phoenix had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Michael Beasley’s shot at the rim rolled in and out. Philadelphia then connected on one-of-two free throw attempts and handed the Suns their first loss of the week. The shot attempt spoiled what was a great night for Beasley, who scored 21 points behind 8-of-13 shooting. It was that final miss, however, that stung the most.
“We got the ball right at the basket,” Gentry said of the crucial play. “I don’t know how it came out, but it was exactly what we tried to do. I thought (Beasley) did a great job of getting there and shooting it like it was going in, but for some reason it came out.”
The Suns will now look to bounce back in back-to-back games at Cleveland and Detroit, a pair of teams they were successful against earlier this season at US Airways Center.
THANKSGIVING AT THE MORRIS HOUSEHOLD
While some may credit hard work and hustle, it may have been a little home cooking that helped Markieff Morris to six first quarter rebounds on Sunday. Back in his hometown of Philadelphia for the start of his team’s six-game road trip, Morris received a late Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of his mom – but he wasn’t alone for the feast.
“My mom knew some of the guys weren’t able to make it home this year for the holiday, so she invited everybody to come over and make a dish,” Morris told Suns.com.
The team took the Morris family up on their invitation. In fact, the entire team took them up on it.
“Everybody was over there, the whole team,” guard Goran Dragic said with a smile. “We had some chicken, some turkey… we had a lot of food.”
Dragic – who played last season with Markieff’s twin brother, Marcus – said it was the first time he had the opportunity to meet the rest of the Morris family, and it was a night he won’t soon forget.
“It was a great night and a great chance to talk to guys on the team about things other than basketball for a change,” Dragic said. “Those types of experiences are great from the standpoint of building chemistry and getting to know each other better. I think the more you know somebody away from work, the better it becomes to work with that person.”
ZELLER WATCHES IRISH FIGHT THEIR WAY TO TITLE SHOT
Saturday night was exceptionally sweet for center Luke Zeller. In addition to dinner, Zeller also had the opportunity to watch his alma mater, Notre Dame, clinch a spot in college football's BCS Championship Game.
The win not only meant a perfect season for the Fighting Irish, but gave them a chance to play for the national title. Making matters even sweeter was the fact that the victory came against an arch rival.
“Anytime (Notre Dame) plays against USC it’s big, so it was going to be a big game for us regardless,” Zeller told Suns.com. “I’m a big fan of Notre Dame football and it feels pretty cool to finish the season undefeated.”