Suns' Identity Rooted in Resilience
Resilience isn’t something you’re born with.
It’s something that is manufactured over time.
Just two games into the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns season, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this team’s identify will be deeply entrenched in resilience.
By all accounts, the Suns didn’t play particularly well Friday night against the Utah Jazz. They shot just 37 percent from the floor, 27 percent from downtown, turned the ball over 17 times and were out-rebounded 53-46. Additionally, after a nasty collision with P.J. Tucker, they lost Goran Dragic for the rest of the game with a head contusion.
Yet, in spite of the adversity, they found a way to get it done in an 87-84 victory over Utah.
“A win is a win,” P.J. Tucker (12 points, four rebounds) said after the game. “Especially in this league.”
Of course, having Eric Bledsoe go off for 17 points in the fourth quarter certainly helps. Still, during the first three quarters when the ball wasn’t going in the hoop as expected, the stoic Jeff Hornacek inserted sharp-shooter Dionte Christmas into the lineup in hopes of a spark.
The result? Christmas scored seven points in a span of four minutes to reignite the team.
“I’m always ready,” Christmas said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
But it wasn’t just Christmas who had to step up. Guard Ish Smith played 12 solid minutes and tallied five rebounds while running the Suns’ offense effectively. Archie Goodwin looked much more comfortable as compared to his first NBA game and Miles Plumlee followed up his stellar Suns debut with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Indeed, even though Hornacek wasn’t happy with the rebounding differential and silly mistakes, his composed demeanor on the sidelines inspired confidence throughout the entire team (a vastly underrated coaching quality for this young of a squad).
In many ways, Hornacek coaches like he played. Rather, his style is eerily reminiscent of his time as a player in all situations – calm, confident and poised.
More importantly, he was – and is – a winner.
Demonstrating this level of awareness and grit (especially for a young team) this early in the season – a time when many players are still discovering their role(s) – is remarkable.
Here’s what we know: the Suns are 2-0, they’re incredibly fun to watch and they’re never out of a game based on how hard they play.
If I’m a fan – and I absolutely am – I can’t wait to see what this team does next.