76ers lose a tough one to league leading Phoenix Suns 114-104
The Philadelphia 76ers were in the desert earlier today to battle the NBA’s best team in the Phoenix Suns. In typical Sixers fashion, they blew a 15-point lead and fell 114-104 to the Suns, similar to what happened the last time these two teams faced off against each other in Philly, when they blew a 14-point lead to lose that game as well.
With the loss, the Sixers fell the whole way back to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just a half game out of the one seed. After a 2-1 road trip, they will head back to South Philadelphia and face the Bucks on Tuesday night, counting down the final eight games of the regular season.
Devin Booker torched a weak effort defensively for the Sixers, scoring 35 points, followed by Chris Paul who scored 19 points and added 14 assists. James Harden struggled for the Sixers, shooting just 2-for-11 from the floor and scoring only 14 points, adding nine assists and seven rebounds in a losing effort.
Joel Embiid posted 37 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. It was another signature MVP performance from Embiid, as he took one another premiere big in the Suns’ Deandre Ayton.
This was Embiid’s 25th game with 30+ points and 10+ rebounds, which no other player in the NBA has done more often than him this season. Honestly, this wasn’t even one of Embiid’s more impressive games and he was still able to lead the game in scoring and dominate defensively, highlighted by a big block midway through the fourth quarter with the 76ers trying to keep the game close.
There was a scary moment in the late third quarter where Embiid turned his ankle on a layup attempt that caused him to head to the locker room. Fortunately, he was able to come back out but you have to question why he would fight through an in game injury at this point in the season.
Harris took over the majority of scoring for the Sixers in the second quarter, dropping 15 first half points and making seven of his first eight field gaol attempts.
It was Harris’ best stretch of the season by far, but he again left a lot to be desired in the second half, finishing as the Sixers third leading scorer with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor.
There are no moral victories. In what felt like a game that was going to be a statement win for the 76ers, it ended sloppy and no one outside Embiid and Maxey were still playing hard in the fourth quarter.
This was a winnable game. The Sixers had plenty of opportunities to win this game and they simply failed to capitalize on them, while allowing the Suns to get anything they wanted offensively. The Sixers would go on a big run, only to allow the Suns to immediately respond with a run of their own.
After a long trip to the West, the 76ers make their way back home only to take on the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night in their final matchup of the season, having split the first two games against each other.