Sixers Drop Second Consecutive Home Game in Hard Fought Affair with the Phoenix Suns
The Sixers finished their four game home-stand and continued their toughest stretch of the season by dropping a tough loss to the second best team in the NBA record-wise, in the Phoenix Suns, at 42-16. The Sixers were unfortunately without three starters in Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry. Starting in their place were Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and Matisse Thybulle.
The first quarter was competitive from the start. Threes were raining from both teams as the Suns and Sixers combined for nine total first quarter three pointers, five from Phoenix and four from Philadelphia. Joel Embiid established his dominance early pouring in 11 first quarter points in addition to 7 rebounds. Devin Booker unsurprisingly led the Suns in first quarter scoring dropping 7 points. The Sixers closed out the first quarter with a one point lead, leading 29-28.
Early on in the second quarter, George Hill drilled a mean step-back three which is a great sign as George Hill’s production off the bench will be essential for the Sixers playoff push. With about five minutes left in the half, Joel was hit with a technical that you could see coming from a mile away as he was unhappy with a no-call on Deandre Ayton. Embiid went on to hit a mean-and-one on former teammate and beloved Sixer, Dario Saric. Embiid continued to take his frustrations out on any Phoenix Sun who dared step in his way. Securing a double-double with over 3 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Sixers and Suns continued to go back and forth ending the half all knotted up at 54. Danny Green drilled a turn-around jumper with .2 seconds on the clock to end a three minute plus field goal drought and to tie the game. Embiid clearly led the way for the Sixers in the first half totaling 18 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges led the way for the Suns putting in 10 a piece. The Sixers also held Devin Booker to zero second quarter points.
In the third quarter, turnovers and fouls proved to be an issue for the Sixers. With about 5 minutes remaining in the third Danny Green picked up the third technical foul called on the Sixers, fourth total in the game. The Suns capitalized on many of these opportunities however, the Sixers kept up in this back and forth affair. Matisse Thybulle played some electric defense per usual absolutely locking up all-star Devin Booker, who is second in all-time points per game against the 76ers. George Hill missed two free throws at the end of the third that could have given the Sixers the lead, causing the Sixers to go into the fourth down one, 77-76.
Future hall of famer, Chris Paul dominated in the fourth pulling off highlight after highlight. Ultimately finishing the game with 28 points. The Sixers continued to battle in the fourth, but just couldn’t stop the Suns offense. Devin Booker drilled a fadeaway dagger with 13 seconds remaining, giving the Suns a six point lead. Embiid went on to hit a three in Booker’s face to cut the Suns’ lead to three with 6.1 second remaining. However, Booker was quickly fouled and drilled both free throws to extend the lead back to five. Furkan Korkmaz quickly came down and drilled another three to cut the lead back down to two. The Sixers quickly fouled CP3 with .9 on the clock. He went on to make the first, but miss the second. Embiid grabbed the rebound and was the slightest of a roll away from drilling a full-court shot to send the game to overtime.
The Sixers ultimately lose to the Suns 116-113. Joel Embiid continues his MVP campaign finishing with 38 points and 17 rebounds. The Sixers, dropping their second consecutive home game for the first time this season and falling to 39-19 on the season. The Sixers will take on the Milwaukee Bucks both Thursday and Saturday continuing this tough stretch.