Two days after winning against the Grizzlies on Booker’s buzzer-beater, the Suns were blown out by the Nets, who cruised to a 104-82 victory that prompted the crowd at Talking Stick Resort Arena to boo the home team off the court.
“It sucks, man,” Booker told reporters. “We thought last game would be our step forward. We definitely took a step back tonight. We didn’t protect home court, came in here and got blown out in front of our fans. It’s embarrassing.”
“I think all good teams have that trust and chemistry, where they’re able to get on each other and know that it’s for a better purpose. For us, I don’t think we have that right now. We’re not comfortable with each other, we don’t step on each other’s toes, we don’t push each other, and I think that’s what we need to do.”
It was the eighth loss in the past nine games for the Suns, who have lost by 18 points or more six times in their first 10 games this season. Booker said he didn’t blame the crowd for its reaction to the latest blowout.
“I’d be doing the same thing if I was up there,” he said.
Booker, 22, when asked how the Suns can improve, responded that he and his teammates must “hold each other accountable, and be OK with that.”
“I think all good teams have that trust and chemistry, where they’re able to get on each other and know that it’s for a better purpose,” Booker said. “For us, I don’t think we have that right now. We’re not comfortable with each other, we don’t step on each other’s toes, we don’t push each other, and I think that’s what we need to do.”
Rookie center Deandre Ayton agreed with Booker and offered a solution to the issue.
“Know who to yell at, know who not to (yell) at,” Ayton told AZCentral.com. “Know who to encourage. There’s certain guys on the team — you curse them out, you’re basically cursing with them. That’s what amps them up. Cuss me out. Like, why you not on me? Some guys, you have say, ‘Come on man, let’s go, let’s go.'”
After finishing with the NBA’s worst record last season, the Suns have undergone a dramatic turnover on their roster.
Phoenix selected Ayton with the first overall draft pick, acquired forward Richaun Holmes and No. 10 overall pick Mikal Bridges in separate trades with the 76ers, and signed veterans Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Jamal Crawford in the past five months.
Suns first-year coach Igor Kokoskov admitted that the team’s “focus wasn’t there, body language wasn’t there” in Tuesday’s loss, saying he is trying to mesh the new mix of veterans with young stars like Booker and Ayton.
“We need each other,” Kokoskov said.