Philly was well aware that Phoenix had been outstanding early into the season. And for a team that’d lost their last two, the 76ers were desperate to not slip in the standings so early in the season.
As a result, the 76ers were victorious on Monday, beating the Suns 100-88.
Just when injuries weren’t supposed to get anymore complicated for Phoenix, they did. The Suns are already without Cameron Johnson for the foreseeable future, and Chris Paul found himself out of the contest on Monday too.
Still, that doesn’t take away from Phoenix’s lack of consistency during the first half. The Suns racked up a fair amount of fouls that lead to a plethora of free-throws for Philly. Both clubs were without key additions, but the 76ers had pieces willing to step up. Such was the case for Tobias Harris, who put together 13 points during the first half.
Joel Embiid seemed to have his way in the paint as well. The 76ers seemed to nearly get up to a 20-point lead before the Suns eventually chopped it down prior to halftime. Philly lead 56-47 at the half.
Paul was diagnosed with right heel soreness, which saw him out the remainder of the contest. While the Suns are a bit shorthanded, the injury update comes as a relief for Phoenix.
While Paul left the Suns undermanned on offensive firepower, Booker was cleared for a prime scoring night. The star guard did just that in the third quarter, as he fought to get to the free throw line. Booker had 14 free-throws attempted with only two minutes remaining in the third quarter. He was also up to 26 points on the night.
Phoenix was closing in on Philly’s lead, but it would still need help from its bench in order to sustain any said lead. Cameron Payne was the only bench player that’d scored over five points as the Suns looked to close out the quarter. Of course Phoenix was depleted from the reserves due to Torrey Craig being inserted into the starting unit.
That momentum did shift as the quarter wined down. The Suns were able to put a halt on the 76ers’ runs, primarily on that of Embiid. The star big man only seemed able to put points up from the free throw line, which didn’t help Philly momentum-wise.
Damion Lee assisted Booker on the scoring end, chipping in five points by the end of the third quarter. His late three-pointer helped close the gap on the 76ers’ lead, as they ended the quarter up 75-70 on Phoenix.
Both squads went scoreless through nearly the first quarter of play, but that wasn’t the most of Phoenix’s problems. The Suns were in legit foul trouble, and with an already-shortened roster, continuing a comeback would prove challenging.
Jock Landale was up to five fouls, while Payne had four.
On defense, Georges Niang continued to be a nuisance from three-point range. He was up to 15 points while going 5-for-7 from downtown at the ten-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Niang shortly afterwards hit his sixth three-pointer for the game.
Despite the barrage of threes, the Suns were very much so still in the game. Payne and Lee were putting forth maximum efforts along with Booker giving a star-like performance. The Suns were going to need more from Mikal Bridges, who only had nine points halfway through the fourth quarter.
If Phoenix couldn’t get Bridges going on the offensive end, they depended deeply on his defensive arsenal. That fell short as well however, as Niang hit a fast-break three-pointer from missed coverage on Bridges. It put Niang up to seven three-pointers for the night for 21 points. ‘
As time swung out of Phoenix’s favor, it was obvious that their repeated rallies had fallen short. The Suns will now have to navigate without possibly Chris Paul as well as they continue their road trip.