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Frank Vogel calls out Lu Dort for flopping

© Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns decided to have practice today on a scheduled off day after getting blown out by 25 points last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

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One day after the game, coach Frank Vogel and Jusuf Nurkić expressed some displeasure with the way the game was officiated in terms of the Suns’ (43-31) 14 turnovers.

“The league has got to look all the flopping that Lu Dort does cause it’s ridiculous how he gets calls,” Vogel said. “If they’re going to get calls like that, then you’re going to have an advantage. You can’t just fall down every time there’s contact and get a whistle.”

(via AZ Central’s Duane Rankin)

The Thunder (51-22), in comparison, had 10 turnovers last night. Phoenix has now lost the turnover battle in 11 of its last 12 games. The last time the Suns had less than 10 turnovers in a game was way back on Jan. 29 in a 118-105 win over the Miami Heat. This means the Suns have had double-digit turnovers in 27 straight games (have only had five total games this season with less than 10).

Vogel added that a lot of turnovers against OKC were dead ball turnovers, which are much better than live ball turnovers leading to runouts. Phoenix had four offensive fouls against the Thunder with Dort drawing two of them. Dort was also issued a flopping technical during the game.

“Only eight live ball turnovers is a good number for us,” Vogel said. “We just got to make sure we don’t have the whistle turnovers that hurt part of our offense, but I liked the way we shared the basketball. We had some stretches of the game where we really looked dominant and scary. That’s the key to us reaching our potential on that side of the ball: committing to the ball movement.”

Jusuf Nurkić

Nurkić, who had two turnovers against OKC, was overall not happy with the way the game was officiated. Scott Foster was the crew chief last night.

“Six were like offensive fouls (or) travels,” Nurkić said of the turnovers. “Scott Foster, respectively, he just needs to know that Chris Paul don’t play on this team no more. All joking aside, it just feels that way.”

(via Rankin)

The Thunder do force the most turnovers in the league with an opponent average of 15.7, while the Suns are 25th in the NBA averaging 14.9 turnovers per game.

Nurkić realizes this.

“I give them credit, they played (a) good game, and they’re really confident in what they’re doing no matter who is in the game,” Nurkić said of the Thunder. “They get the ball, they play. It’s fun, I guess, when you have five players out there just attacking you the whole night.”

Things don’t get much easier for the Suns next game Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans (45-29) in terms of turnovers. New Orleans is eighth in the NBA at forcing 14.1 turnovers per game. Last time Phoenix played them, however, the Suns actually won the turnover battle 10-14 in a 123-109 road win on Jan. 19.

Nurkić compared New Orleans’ style of play to the Denver Nuggets, who Phoenix just beat Wednesday 104-97 and won the season series 2-1.

“More like a slower place, than a running (team),” Nurkić said of the Pelicans.

Monday’s matchup will be the first of two remaining meetings between these teams even with only eight games left for both. New Orleans is two games ahead of Phoenix in the standings as the fifth seed in the West, while Phoenix is currently in a play-in spot as the No. 7 seed in the West.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau


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