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Rookie mistake: Markieff Morris' NBA debut ends on tough turnover

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Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris, front is hauled down by New Orleans Hornets forward Carl Landry, rear, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Phoenix. The Hornets won 85-84.

Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris, front is hauled down by New Orleans Hornets forward Carl Landry, rear, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Phoenix. The Hornets won 85-84. by Nick Gerik

Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) played 25 good minutes and one bad second for the Suns in a close loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Monday. Markieff scored seven points (1 of 3 threes) with nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks (full stats here).

Markieff’s NBA debut was equal parts good and bad.

The good? Markieff showed off his all-around game again, but didn’t foul out (only four fouls after collecting six in each of the Suns’ two preseason games). Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry also trusted Markieff enough to leave him on the floor in a one-point game with 4.2 seconds left.

The bad?

Markieff tried to get the ball to Suns point guard Steve Nash, threw the ball away with a second left and the Suns lost (video).

After the game, Markieff talked to the Arizona Republic:

“I just rushed it,” Morris said. “It was my first situation. I just tried to get the ball out of my hands basically and made a bad pass.”

Nash took some responsibility for the turnover, too. From the Republic:

The play was designed for Nash to inbound to Morris and get a return pass, but Nash widened out to avoid an area where Trevor Ariza was guarding Grant Hill.

“I told him it was a tough play when we haven’t really played together,” Nash said. “It’s as much my fault as his.”

After the game, Gentry called Markieff “a work in progress.” But both Nash and Suns center Robin Lopez praised Markieff for his hustle and physical play.

You can watch Markieff’s full postgame interview here (listen for a Kansas mention at the end).


More from Monday

  • Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) played another solid game for the Warriors on Monday. Rush logged 26 minutes (fifth-most on the team) and scored five points with three rebounds, two blocks, an assist, a steal and a three (full stats here). Warriors coach Mark Jackson spoke to the Bay Area News Group about Rush’s playing time:

"He's earned those minutes from the first day he came to this team," Jackson said. "He's not going to hurt you. He's going to make solid plays. He's going to rebound the basketball and he's going to battle defensively. ... There's a reason why we wanted him."

Chicago Bulls' Ronnie Brewer (11) vies for a loose ball with Golden State Warriors' Brandon Rush (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Oakland, Calif.

Chicago Bulls' Ronnie Brewer (11) vies for a loose ball with Golden State Warriors' Brandon Rush (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. by Nick Gerik

  • Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) only played four minutes against the Orlando Magic in his first official NBA game. In those four minutes, Marcus committed two fouls and missed two three-pointers (full stats here).

  • Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) did not start for the Bucks on Monday and played just 14 minutes against the Charlotte Bobcats before being ejected from the game. Gooden scored four points on four shots with five rebounds, two assists and a block (full stats here). Bucks coach Scott Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Gooden will be the team’s primary backup center instead of a starter.

As for the ejection: Gooden fouled the Bobcats’ Gerald Henderson as Henderson was driving for a layup. The officials called a flagrant foul on the play and sent Gooden home early. Video of the foul here, with commentary by some very enthusiastic Bobcats announcers:

  • Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) scored five points with two rebounds, two assists and a block in 22 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves (full stats here).

  • Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) dressed but did not play (coach’s decision) in his return to his home state of Minnesota on Monday. 1500ESPN spoke to Thunder coach Scott Brooks about Aldrich, who hasn’t played in either of the Thunder’s two games this year:

"I think he came back in a good place," Brooks said. "One of the things about this league is that it's difficult to step in and play.

"Only a few players can do that and have success. Cole didn't play a lot last year, but he learned a lot. He learned how this league works and learned about our system and this personnel in this league. I thought he came back a better player."

  • Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) also did not play (coach’s decision).

Other notes

  • Greg Ostertag should be assigned to a D-League team this afternoon, if last week’s reports are correct. If you can’t wait until tomorrow’s recap, check out the D-League’s official Twitter account or Scott Schroeder, who originally broke the news and is on top of various D-League happenings.

  • Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) is still day-to-day with his heel injury, according to the Boston Globe. He did not practice on Monday, and the Globe suggests he might be out until the Celtics’ home opener on Friday.

  • Since commenter kusportsdotcom asked: Sherron Collins (Hacettepe University) and Russell Robinson (Trabzonspor), who both play in the Turkish Basketball League, will face off next on March 17, 2012. The two teams played each other on Dec. 3, and Collins scored 13 points with eight rebounds and five assists while Robinson registered no points with six rebounds and three assists (full stats from that game here).


Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games

Tuesday, Dec. 27

  • 7 p.m., TNT, Paul Pierce (if healthy) and the Boston Celtics vs. Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat

  • 7:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves

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