There was a tense atmosphere at the Suns‘ practice on Saturday, which is just what coach Monty Williams wanted to see, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. With a chance to take a commanding lead in its series against the Mavericks, Phoenix fell behind for good midway through the first quarter of Game 3, leaving the players feeling like they missed an opportunity.
“When you’re a sore loser, you’re a sore loser,” Williams said. “That’s just the way it is. I don’t see anybody in the playoffs that’s like, ‘Man, I just love the way we lost today.’ I just don’t see that. … You hate losing and you bring it to the gym the next day. Your food doesn’t taste as good, there’s an attitude with it. But it also has to be channeled the right way.”
The Suns admitted that they focused too much on the officiating in Friday’s game. McMenamin cites a play where Devin Booker and Chris Paul were arguing an out-of-bounds call, which allowed Dorian Finney-Smith to get open for a three-pointer.
“We got out of character a little bit and that’s totally not us, being worried about the calls we’re not getting,” Deandre Ayton said. “At the end of the day, we’re not home. We’re not home at all, so we can’t really expect anything. The crowd is against us and it was loud in there so we just got to maintain focus and stick together more.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Paul had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers in the Suns‘ loss, per Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic. “If I don’t turn the ball over like that, I feel like it’s a different game,” Paul said. “Give (the Mavericks) a lot of credit, I feel like they came out and did what they were supposed to do.”
- The Lakers had internal discussions about trading for Kyrie Irving before the Nets gave him permission to start playing part-time in early January, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Those sources didn’t say if L.A. decided to make an offer or if the team still has interest, but Begley doesn’t believe it will matter because Irving is likely to re-sign with Brooklyn this summer.
- Kings owner Vivek Ranadive attended Saturday night’s playoff game, giving him a chance to see two of the finalists in his team’s head coaching search in action, notes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Mike Brown was on the sidelines as an assistant with the Warriors, while Mark Jackson was part of ABC’s broadcast team. Steve Clifford is the other finalist, and a source told Anderson that there’s nothing new on a potential decision.
- If the Kings decide to hire Brown, he will remain with the Warriors as long as they’re in the playoffs, Anderson tweets.