What to Watch: 76ers-Suns
The 76ers continue their road trip out west this afternoon, stopping in Phoenix to face the 15-9 Suns. Phoenix has had a fantastic start to their season, with Chris Paul and Devin Booker working together perfectly in the backcourt. Philly is fresh off a last-minute loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last night and looks to avenge that outcome today.
Here is what to watch against the Suns:
Joel Embiid vs Deandre Ayton:
Although Joel Embiid did not play in either game against the Suns last season, he wreaked havoc against Deandre Ayton in previous appearances. In their two matchups, Embiid averaged over 37 points and 17 rebounds against Ayton. The number one pick has developed very well for the Suns and has his biggest test of the season ahead.
Can the bench mob bounce back?:
Without Shake Milton, the 76ers benched suffered immensely, unable to get anything going on offense. In Thursday’s loss to Portland, the Sixers bench only scored a total of 19 points. The entire bench was outscored by Carmelo Anthony, who had 24. Tyrese Maxey has hit a bit of a slump the last few weeks and has regressed to the mean from his impressive outings earlier.
Milton’s absence shows the Sixers real need for another shot-creating guard off the bench to get things going. Hopefully, Maxey & company can bounce back and show they can still compete without their top guard.
Defending the Suns backcourt:
While the numbers might not show it, Chris Paul is having another All-Star worthy season currently. The 35-year-old guard has helped Devin Booker continue to make considerable strides in his play and get open opportunities.
The Sixers have done a fantastic job of shutting down opposing guards. Damian Lillard shot a shocking 6/21 while being guarded by Ben Simmons the other night. When needed, the Sixers always have the Simmons-Thybulle pairing to use. Putting those two upfront can lock down almost every guard pair in the NBA. Limiting Booker’s open opportunities will be the key to securing a win.
The Sixers are one-point favorites (-110) and are looking to end a four-game winning streak for the Suns.
If the 76ers defense comes out firing on all cylinders, it will be tough for the Suns to keep up. The big question is how the bench will respond with the loss of Shake Milton. With those in mind, the Sixers should come out with a close win over the Phoenix Suns.
The Sixers have given up 113.3 points per game in their last three road games. The Suns have scored 114.6 per game in their previous three games at home. I like the over at 223.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas USA Today Sports