Suns Regroup, Intent on Correcting ‘Little Mistakes’

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Less than 12 hours after giving up a 17-point lead and a step up in the playoff race, there was no panic. Worry would probably be too strong, as well.

Instead the Suns were in a state of awakened acceptance after watching a key stretch of film from Wednesday night’s loss to the Clippers: the portion when their double-digit lead evaporated in the fourth.

Remembering the forgettable stretch could serve the Suns well before all is said and done. The resulting self-awareness on team and individual levels was apparent.

“[I saw] a lot of errors,” Eric Bledsoe said. “Myself, not getting back in transition. A lot of corrective stuff on the tape that we can take into the next game. There’s a lot of positive.”

Hornacek echoed the honest-but-not-condemning tone. He didn’t pin the loss on one factor, simply pointing out individual plays that added up to the end result.

“Nothing really glaring, it’s just little things here and there,” added Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. “A play here. A bad shot there. A turnover here. All of the sudden it all accumulates.”

“We just told them this morning, ‘You guys all woke up this morning. You feel the sun shining, birds chirping. It could be a lot worse. Whatever happened, happened. You’ve got to win the next one.'”

— Jeff Hornacek

All of those plays were spread out over different players, but each one seemed intent on correcting his own set of miscues. Bledsoe referenced a specific sequence in the fourth when looking for a foul call resulted in not getting back in transition defense and, eventually, a Clippers bucket.

“You get blindsided a little bit [during the game],” Bledsoe said. “At the same time you’ve got to just wipe it off. I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.”

Though players were quick to acknowledge their own mistakes, they were quick to defend each other, hearkening back to the team-first approach instilled on them since training camp.

“We’re a team. If some guy turns over the ball, the whole team turns over the ball,” Goran Dragic said. “It’s a team sport.”

Hornacek appreciates the team’s acknowledgement, but he was also glad the loss didn’t result in an overly depressing after-effect the following morning. The 12-hour transition was remarkably similar to the one following a March home loss to Cleveland.

After that, Phoenix won eight of their next nine.

“All year they’ve been pretty good about that stuff,” Hornacek said. “We just told them this morning, ‘You guys all woke up this morning. You feel the sun shining, birds chirping. It could be a lot worse. Whatever happened, happened. You’ve got to win the next one.'”