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Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns continue to show their growth

Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris (11) drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr.)

Are you aware the Phoenix Suns are one-half game behind the media darlings of last year?

Did you know the Suns would be the third seed in the Eastern conference playoffs?

How about this numbers conversion: Since the conversation between Markieff Morris and Coach Jeff Hornacek, Morris is averaging almost a rebound and a half more with an additional 12 points per game. Yes, his average points-per-game has gone up by more points (12) than where it stood to begin with (7.2).

Who won more games, last year's or this year's version of the Suns? With almost three months left in the season, we have our answer!

The Suns dominated the Indiana Pacers. The Suns followed that up by laying a massive egg against Washington, plus two terrible quarters against an awful Cavaliers team. Focusing on the last six quarters, Phoenix has stopped playing to their competition.

The first quarter against Philadelphia showed tremendous growth. Two members of your bench coming home to Philly, yet they didn't play distracted. A 40-point first quarter to bury a weak team forces examination into just how much growth is happening with this team. The Suns played to THEIR level of competition and not to THE level of competition.

If you allow your opponent to affect your effort, you're not a competitor. No matter how much anyone loves winning, a sincere hatred of losing is a much better motivator. If you like to win, you'll only give what it takes to beat your opponent. If you hate losing, you'll give all that you have.

Another test awaits the Suns Wednesday night. There's no doubt that it will be hard to win in Indiana. It will be easy for the Suns to give everything in an attempt to beat Indiana. However, if they focus on beating Indiana Wednesday night, they'll lose to Milwaukee before they get on the plane to Indianapolis.

Although the Suns keep overcoming every obstacle put in their way, there's another one coming. Judge the Suns by their first half energy and effort against the Bucks. If the Suns come out and play with passion like they did in Philly, they have a chance to go 4-0 on this road trip. They need to crush the Bucks quickly and get rested for a Pacer team that will want blood.

A weak-minded team would lose to Milwaukee because they are thinking about the Pacers, and thus might go 0-2 in this back-to-back. But the Suns proved against Philadelphia they are not a weak-minded team.

About the Author


School: Ohio University...Go Bobcats!

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: 1st Doug & Wolf Show: 1/2/07

Favorite sports memory: Goldschmidt's triple icing the 2011 NL West title because it was a daddy-daughter day at the ballpark and Bellbrook vs. Dunbar '89 when I hit my one varsity HR.

Favorite all-time athlete: as a kid, Magic...as an adult, Grant Hill

Favorite sports movies: Field of Dreams

Best sports road trip: My honeymoon...wedding Saturday...Braves vs. Reds Sunday Night...Cooperstown Monday through Thursday morning...Jennifer sings the Anthem Thursday night at Fenway... Sox/White Sox triple play and cycle in the same game for only the second time in baseball history...Saturday night Clemens strikes out 9 through 7 but the bullpen blows it and the crowd is furious.

Best game I've ever seen live: Suns/Spurs Game 5 2007 Western Semis (the game w/o Amare & Boris). Hated the outcome but loved the experience.

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