Sixers’ Slow Start Spells Defeat Against Suns

By Sean Kennedy

Road weariness proved to be of little concern for the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back.

With Phoenix traveling to Philadelphia to play their second road game in two days, you might have expected a well-rested Sixers squad to jump out on the Suns from the get-go. However, it was instead the Suns who entered play with all the energy in the world, hitting their first 6 shots of the game and 10 of their first 11 to propel themselves to a quick double-digit lead. Goran Dragic and Gerald Green each went 5-5 for 12 points in the first quarter, as Phoenix dropped 40 points in the first, the most points they’ve scored in a first quarter this year. That was a portent of things to come, as the Suns rode that early advantage to a 124-113 victory, tying their season-high for points in a game in the process.

The Dragic-Green backcourt gave the Sixers problems all evening, with Dragic finishing with 24 points on 9-13 shooting and 11 assists. Green made the more noticeable impact, with a season-high 30 points including a pair of threes and a monster dunk in the closing minutes to squash any hope of a Sixers comeback after Philadelphia had cut the deficit to 8. Green hit 10 of his first 11 shots, with the former slam dunk champion’s only miss occurring when he tried to posterize Evan Turner on the fast break but leapt too far from the hoop and tried to throw it in Blake Griffin-style. The Suns also cut some great play from Miles Plumlee, who put up another double-double against the Sixers with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Plumlee threw down an alley-oop and some violent dunks off putbacks, playing with a ferocity that Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen appeared hesitant to match on the interior.

It wasn’t all bad for the Sixers as like Mike McDermott, the Sixers kept hanging around, although there wasn’t a flopped straight to save them in the end. The team shot 25-26 from the foul line, which has to be a season-best for the normally poor free throw-shooting squad. Thad Young and Evan Turner had 21 points and 3 steals a piece, while Carter-Williams led the team with 22 points and 11 assists. It wasn’t the best game for the rookie as he shot just 7-19 and was often forcing wild drives that had little chance of success, while also playing some subpar defense on Dragic, but it’s still a double-double from a first-year pro. The Sixers will head to Boston tomorrow for what should be their best chance at a victory in their past few games.

Box Score

Notable Observations:

  • Thad Young went just 1-4 from behind the arc and his just 4 for his 30 (13%) from downtown. That stretch has taken him from his high-water mark above 40% on the season to below league-average at 33%. I still understand why they’re giving him free range to shoot it whenever he wants this season, but I maintain he’s best served as a player with more of the Doug Collins philosophy. That’s one of the rare instances where I think any Collins line of thinking is superior to the new regime.
  • Malik Rose informed us that the Morris twins decided who got the bigger bedroom at their childhood home based on a game of Madden. I have so many questions. What version of Madden was it? What teams did they pick? Did that really just use one game or was some sort of best-of series? Whatever happened to Madden Nation? I loved that show.

Tanking Implications

As mentioned, up-and-down performance from MCW and slow outing for a lot of the other young guys. Hollis Thompson brought a spark off the bench, hitting both his three-point attempts and dropping 10 points. If only he and Elliot Williams could fuse into some sort of a mega-person, the Sixers might have themselves a consistent player. Before the season, fans of the tank would have been thrilled with loss to the Suns, but their now-playoff status tempers that attitude a bit. 4/5 tanks

4 of 5 tanks

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