By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound as they faced the Phoenix Suns looking to avoid their second two-game losing streak of the season. Unfortunately for Philly, Phoenix used some hot shooting and a strong bench performance to burn the Sixers 120-111.
It looked good for Philly early on, they were able to hit their first eight shots. They were powered by the duo of center Joel Embiid and guard/forward Ben Simmons. They combined for 31-points by half-time. Simmons in particular had 16-points and was being aggressive on both ends of the floor.
Despite the strong performance by Embiid and Simmons, Philly once again did not have it from beyond the arc. They only hit seven threes throughout the entire game. Not being able to keep up with Phoenix from beyond the arc and only getting 20-points from the bench really did them in. Once Embiid and Simmons rested the bench unit did not bring it on either side of the ball. They let the Suns shooters have anything they wanted from the field.
On the defensive performance, “I’m more worried about the defense,” said Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Phoenix took full advantage. They got a 15-point scoring outburst from forward Dario Saric who was returning from injury, and he was able to attack Philly’s defenders from the paint or the perimeter. What Phoenix wasn’t getting on the offensive end from their bench they got from guards Chris Paul (18-points) and Devin Booker (36-points). Who combined for 54 of Phoenix’s 120-points. When Philly would shut one down the other got loose. They were able to make strong perimeter defense look weak when they hit some difficult shots.
Their combined scoring output was able to overpower a strong performance from Embiid and Simmons who need their teammates to pick it up from beyond the arc and on the bench. Embiid in particular scored 35-points and helped keep his team in it. But the scoring of Paul and Booker was just too much for the team to handle.
On the Suns, “Sixers are best in the East and teams are always looking to punch them in the face,” said Simmons.
The Sixers will need to find a way to unlock their three-point shooting and bench units. They will need both to deal with a Monday night primetime match-up against the Utah Jazz who have the best record in the league.