Jones: Suns need to ‘control what they can control’ with fouling

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on March 09, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The biggest topic to come out of the Suns’ 122-111 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t the fact that Phoenix has now lost back-to-back games amid a tight Western Conference playoff race.

Instead, the conversation focused more on the free throw discrepancy between the two sides, with the Lakers holding a 46-20 edge from the charity stripe and Suns head coach Monty Williams letting his frustrations be known postgame before walking out of the interview.

President of basketball operations and general manager James Jones understands where his head coach is coming from, but at the end of the day, worrying over what transpired in previous games does Phoenix no favors as it jostles for playoff position.

“We can’t control whether or not they give us free throw attempts but we can control whether or not we’re giving them up,” Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday. “I think we said our peace. And for our team and our guys internally, we’re focused on correcting those things. We just can’t foul. If we don’t foul, it’s a different game.

“I’m not going to turn this into an officiating referendum or anything like that,” the GM added. “We have games in front of us that we need to play and we have games in front of us that we need to win and that we should win and we expect to win. So, we’re going to look internally and see how we can get better and move onto the next game.”

While Phoenix’s foul trouble has been making the rounds, Jones pointed out another area that needs improving: turnovers.

In the Suns’ loss to the Lakers, Phoenix committed 17 turnovers, which the Lakers turned into 27 points. The Lakers on the other hand had 15 turnovers on the night, allowing 18 points.

“We’ve just had stretches where we haven’t taken the best shots and we turned the ball over,” Jones said. “Teams have really been taking advantage of our turnovers in transition and points off turnovers have been a big deficit for us, so that’s an area we need to clean up.

“I think any time you turn the ball over that much and give up that many points on turnovers it’s hard to win games.”

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