By: Kylan Watson
The struggling Philadelphia 76ers faced the Phoenix Suns tonight who are the best team in the Western Conference. The Suns played like it throughout this game as they made them work for everything. However, a returning Joel Embiid propelled Philly to a 100-88 victory and ended their two-game losing streak.
Philly did not have their offensive rhythm early in this game they only made three-of-eight from the field, and the Suns took full advantage of the power outage. As they could not miss from the field. Devin Booker scored 28 points to lead them, he continued his hot streak versus the Sixers. He scores an average of 30 plus points in his career against Philly. He continued it tonight as the Sixers had no answers for him early in the game. He shredded the Sixers defense early on and made them pay from the perimeter. The Sixers put De’Anthony Melton on him and that was a pivotal adjustment that made all the difference in this game. His length and aggressiveness clearly bothered Booker, he only made eight/16-shots and especially late in the game he could not get a shot off against Melton.
The Sixers were able to take control of this game thanks to a returning Joel Embiid (33-points and 10-rebounds), Tobias Harris (21-points), and Georges Niang (21-points). The trio combined for 64 of Philly’s 100 points and the Suns had no answers for them. Especially, Embiid who dominated on both sides of the court. He is returning from a bout with the flu, but he looked like he had been playing in every game this season. Embiid had it working on the offensive side as well he got the Suns big-men into foul trouble and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. When the Sixers needed it the most he hit some back-breaking shots. To propel Philly to their fifth victory of the season. Additionally, Niang played a pivotal role from the three-point line, he hit seven three-pointers tonight (Career High). There was a stretch in the third and fourth quarter where he and Embiid scored 25 points for Philly. If Niang can continue his three-point marksmanship from the bench, Philly can really have a scoring punch from their struggling second unit. They will need it until James Harden returns in a month.
Philly now will get two days off to prepare for a two-game series with the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday and Saturday. They will need another balanced night on the offensive, and to up their defensive aggressiveness, if they want to keep Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in check on Thursday night. So they can get their sixth win of the season and start moving up in the standings in the loaded Eastern Conference.