By: Kayla Mortellaro
PHOENIX— The main event Friday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena was the Detroit Pistons versus the Phoenix Suns. At the end of 48 minutes of basketball, the Pistons came out on top 100-92.
The game was not without side attractions as Marcus Morris, twin of Markieff Morris, made his return to Phoenix after being traded to the Pistons in July. Notably, Marcus and Markieff were unhappy with the Suns front office for the decision to split the brothers up.
On Friday, two brothers entered and one brother won, so to speak. On the night the Pistons improved their win streak against the Suns in Phoenix to two-straight, Marcus finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The crowd of 16,676 let Marcus know how they felt right from the start of player introductions with boos that continued every time he touched the ball and followed with cheers if he missed the shot attempt.
“It wasn’t [expletive],” Marcus said about the boos from Suns fans. “It was light. If it was in Detroit, it would’ve been better. They [Suns fans] don’t even know why they’re booing. They’re just out there booing me. It was trash. I thought it would be a little better than that.”
For the Suns, Markieff started the first 3:17 of the game with two points, two fouls and a technical foul- arguing the second personal foul heading to the bench. However, he proved to be an important role for the Suns trying to claw their way back into the game, finishing with 18 points on 9-of-21 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
“We definitely missed a lot of shots,” Markieff said. “I got two quick fouls early and that kind of slowed the game down a little bit, but we missed shots, a lot of open shots that we normally make. They did a great job of capitalizing off of it.”
Markieff, Brandon Knight (22 points), and Eric Bledsoe (22 points) accounted for 46 percent of the Suns shot attempts.
“For me, I missed a lot of open shots, B[randon] Knight, and Bled[soe] also,” Markieff said. “For the most part, we’re the go-to guys on the team. We need to score every night for us to win.”
As a team, the Suns shot 40.2 percent from the floor, while Markieff, Knight and Bledsoe combined to shoot 41 percent from the floor.
But the story for the Suns does not stop there. Head coach Jeff Hornacek believes the problem of missed shots had more to do with poor passing.
“I thought we were delayed on a lot of passes from everybody,” Hornacek said after the game. “It was an afterthought. Let’s try to make a play and then I’ll pass it, instead of making a play knowing you’ll be able to pass it here or there. We ended up with 14 assists, and we had 23 and 27 the last two games, we didn’t move [the ball] quick enough.”
In fact, Phoenix only had 14 assists on the night and seven combined assists from Bledsoe and Knight. Conversely in a win Wednesday night against the Kings, the backcourt tandem combined for 15 assists while the team had 27.
Hornacek spent most of the night pacing up and down the sidelines in frustration. He believed his players had a lack of concentration all night long.
“We had some plays out there that we were supposed to run, the same play we’ve run for two years now,” Hornacek said. “And some of our guys that have been here- didn’t know it. The concentration level tonight probably wasn’t what it should have been.”
The Suns had a 7-5 lead with 7:24 to play in the first quarter. After that point, the Pistons led the rest of the way, with the largest lead of the night being 11 points. In addition to Marcus’ 20 points, Reggie Jackson led the team with a game-high 23 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 18 points and Andre Drummond added 12 points and 17 rebounds.
“Feels great to start it off this way, it’s a tough six-game road trip,” Jackson said after the game as the Pistons improved to 4-1 on the year. “We got the first one, we can’t worry about the third, fourth, fifth or sixth games, we have to focus on the second. Everybody has to enjoy this win right now, get some rest and get on this plane.”
Ultimately, the game concluded with a tally in the loss column for Phoenix, moving them to 3-3 on the year and in third place in the Pacific Division.
But in what appears to be growth and maturity of Markieff, his night concluded with him addressing the media for nearly four minutes, answering questions about the game, the team and his twin brother Marcus.
“They boo me,” Markieff joked with the media when asked about the Suns fans booing Marcus. “Why wouldn’t they boo him?”
And for what might be only the second time in their career playing in a game opposite one another, Markieff offered an opinion to the media that suggests he is moving on and making the most of his time with Phoenix.
“It is what it is, happy to be both playing,” Markieff said.
Coming up next: Phoenix travels to Oklahoma City to take on the 3-3 Thunder on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on Fox Sports Arizona.