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Phoenix Suns

Marcus Morris hits game-winner, saves Suns from ‘embarrassing' start

Marcus Morris (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports)

LAS VEGAS -- It's the shoes. It's got to be the shoes.

"I like them," Marcus Morris said of his fluorescent yellow footwear. "I'm trying to get some orange ones, some shiny orange ones."

Hey, if he continues to hit game-winning shots, then the colorful sneaks must stay.

Morris hit a 20-foot pull-up jumper at the buzzer, lifting the Suns to their second NBA Summer League victory in as many games, 91-89 over the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday at Thomas & Mack Center.

"It was just an in-rhythm shot, one dribble (to get past Solomon Jones); just pull up," he said. "I told them earlier that I've been hitting a lot of clutch shots in practice. I'm happy that (head coach Jeff Hornacek) gave me the ball and I came through."

Morris, who was acquired back in February in a trade with Houston for a second-round pick, was one of several options to take the shot.

But according to Hornacek, who drew up the deciding play with 3.3 seconds remaining on the clock, Morris' shot was the one that was most likely going to be open.

"P.J. (Tucker) made a great job of reading what was available," Hornacek said. "Sometimes guys get panicked when they take the ball out of bounds and try to throw it right away to a guy, but they let the play develop and Marcus got the ball. We said we had three seconds. If you don't have a good shot right off the bat, take a couple of dribbles and shoot it. That's what he did."

Morris' heroics would not have been possible if it weren't for the clutch shooting of Kendall Marshall and Markieff Morris, who between them hit three straight 3s to tie the game at 87.

"(Marshall) shot it with confidence," Hornacek said. "Those were two huge shots for us."

Marshall, who hit 31.5 percent from downtown last season, made three of his five three-point attempts to finish with 13 points.

Markieff Morris led all scorers with 22 points (7-of-9 FG, while Marcus Morris added 18 (5-of-14).

"I think I shot terrible [Monday], but I made the last shot so that's all that matters," Morris said.

Dionte Christmas also added 16 points (5-of-12), coming off the bench for the Suns.

The Timberwolves jumped in front of the Suns 32-14 after the first quarter and led by as many as 24 points midway through the second quarter.

"It was kind of embarrassing," said Morris, who blamed a lack of energy.

It marked the second straight game the Suns fell behind early.

"They did a great job, battling back," Hornacek said. "They really knew that, ‘Hey, we need to buckle down.' Our first halves have not gone too well. We've been down in the beginning of both games. It was great to hear them in the locker room talk about, ‘Okay, we're straightening it for the next game.' We'll see."

The Suns will play Memphis on Tuesday.

For Marcus Morris, the outcome was a nice reward for all the work he's put in this offseason, going twice a day to the gym.

It's a big year for him as he enters his third pro season.

"I asked (Hornacek) what he wanted me to do," said Morris, retelling a conversation he had with the first-year head coach. "What does he see me as, and he told me he sees me as a big 3, a 3 that can stretch the floor, can post, can pick-and-roll, so that's what I'm working on."

And the shoes?

"New jerseys, new sneakers," he said smiling. "We've got to turn it up. New Suns."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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