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Earl Watson wants Suns to follow Spurs' model

Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 21, 2016

Earl Watson is still looking for his first victory as the interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns.

After his injury-plagued Suns gave the San Antonio Spurs all they could handle before falling 118-111 Sunday afternoon, Watson said those victories will come as his players begin to more closely model the squad that just beat them.

"Once we understand our limitations as a group, as individuals ... eventually we'll go beyond them"

"The thing about us is we embrace the process. We understand we're building a program," said Watson, who fell to 0-7 as Suns coach after Jeff Hornacek was fired Feb. 1.

"We're not trying to just win games. We're trying to build personality, character, selflessness -- a style of play that, to me, is contagious when you watch the teams like San Antonio play. It's a machine. It's a program. It's a family. And that's where we're slowly building in that right direction."

The Spurs (47-9) have been a thorn in the Suns' side for over a decade, but they know how to win. They've won five world titles since 1999 and are among the favorites to win another this season.

The Suns (14-42) are headed in the opposite direction. They've lost 11 straight games and... well, there's this.

With season-ending injuries to key players such as Eric Bledsoe and T.J. Warren, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

The Suns do, however, have young talent that has room to grow and improve during the final weeks of the season. That includes rookie guard Devin Booker and third-year center Alex Len, the latter of whom had a career game Sunday (23 points, 13 rebounds) in veteran center Tyson Chandler's absence.

Watson said the wins will come as his young group begins to build a positive identity and a family-like mentality -- similar to the one that has been built in San Antonio.

"Once we understand our limitations as a group, as individuals ... eventually we'll go beyond them," he said. "We're getting to that point."