Suns head to Philadelphia looking to start a winning streak
The Suns have a golden opportunity to fashion their first win streak in nearly seven weeks as they open a four-game trip Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Phoenix (14-31) will try to string two wins together for the first time since Dec. 7-9 three days after snapping a six-game skid with Saturday’s 98-95 win over Atlanta.
The 76ers (6-39) have the NBA’s worst record, but one of their six wins came in Phoenix on Dec. 26, and it proved to a fateful game for the Suns. Philadelphia came into the game with a 1-30 record but left town with a 111-104 victory that left the Suns in disarray. Leading scorer Eric Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus on a non-contact play, resulting in season-ending surgery. And two assistants on Jeff Hornacek’s staff — Jerry Sichting and Mike Longabardi — were cut loose before the Suns would play another game.
Phoenix comes into the game on a positive note, thanks to Archie Goodwin’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Atlanta on Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak. The last play against the Hawks was drawn up for Alex Len, but Goodwin had other plans.
"I was going to shoot it all the time," Goodwin said. "I was looking at the play like, ‘Yeah right, I am shooting this.’ "
Goodwin sank the winning 3-pointer from the top of the arc with one-tenth of a second left, finishing with a season-high 24 points and delivering the Suns just their second win in 17 games. It was Phoenix’s first victory against a team above .500 since beating Chicago on Dec. 7.
"It’s valuable experience for these guys to be in a game like that and win," Hornacek said.
The 76ers could be the most beatable opponent on the Suns schedule for the next month. Their next 11 games feature only two teams with sub-.500 records — the Knicks (22-24) on the road on Friday, and Utah (19-25) at home on Feb. 6.
Tyson Chandler had 61 rebounds during the Suns’ three-game homestand last week, including a franchise-record-tying 27 in the win over Atlanta. Thirteen of the 27 rebounds came on the offensive end — a single-game high in the NBA this season. He also had 13 points and a season-high five assists in the victory.
The 76ers have been outrebounded in seven of their last eight games, but they have managed a 5-9 record since their 1-30 start. They are coming off a 112-92 loss to Boston on Sunday — a game in which they committed 24 turnovers and made just 39 percent of their shots.
"That was a bad NBA game tonight from our standpoint," coach Brett Brown said. "I don’t even know what team I coached tonight."
Philadelphia is 3-17 at home, but Phoenix has lost 10 consecutive road games and is 4-18 on the road for the season.
Guard Brandon Knight (left abductor strain) remains out for the Suns, while Jon Leuer (back spasms) and Markieff Morris (right shoulder strain) are questionable.