Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek on Wednesday said his team will win a record 12 games this season despite being outscored by an average of 31 points per 100 possessions.
Hornaceck also expects the Suns to finish in the top half of the Western Conference standings for the second straight year and the first time in league history.
Hornaciek said he’s confident the Suns can finish a season with 12 wins because of the depth they’ve acquired and the fact the team can afford to lose.
Horns confidence in his team’s ability to win games with an edge is backed up by the fact he’s also coached the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals twice and the Phoenix Suns to a pair of trips to the Finals.
The Suns have gone a combined 7-6 this season.
The team has been outscouted and outplayed by an opponent by an overall margin of more than 7 points per game.
The Lakers, who were outscattered by the Suns 117-87 at Staples Center on Wednesday, will be looking for a fourth consecutive trip to the postseason.
The teams split their first two meetings this season, with the Suns leading by double figures in the third quarter before the Lakers pulled away late in the fourth.
Los Angeles was outscoped by an NBA-leading 51.6 points per contest in the final three quarters of each contest.
“We know we can get it done in the end, and we can compete in the playoffs,” Hornacecke said.
“This is not a team that has to be winning the games that they are losing to be competitive.”
The Lakers have played three of their last four games in Phoenix.
Phoenix has a pair more games against Western Conference opponents this season and the Suns are tied for fifth in the league in total wins.
Phoenix leads the league with a 13-4 record in the first three months of the season.