76ers-Suns Preview

One benefit to the Phoenix Suns’ worst loss of the season is

that fatigue shouldn’t be a factor when they return to the court

less than 24 hours later.

The Suns will be favored to bounce back from a dismal shooting

effort and add to the woes of the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on

Saturday night.

Phoenix (17-11) fell 115-86 at Golden State on Friday, finishing

with season lows of 36.0 percent from the field and 17.4 from

3-point range in its lowest scoring effort of the season. The Suns

averaged 109.2 points while shooting 46.7 percent overall and 43.1

on 3s during an 8-1 stretch that preceded that defeat.

The lopsided game meant that no Phoenix player logged more than

31 minutes. Coach Jeff Hornacek’s starters sat out a meaningless

fourth quarter.

“That one, it just looked like there was no way we were going to

come back and win that game so try to get some of those other guys

in,” Hornacek said.

While the Suns were getting blown out in the Bay Area,

Philadelphia (8-20) was waiting for them back in Arizona in an odd

set of circumstances. The 76ers arrived in Arizona on Thursday to

begin a five-game road stretch against Western Conference foes and

this contest will their first in exactly a week.

“We play again tomorrow night,” Hornacek said. “Philly’s been

waiting in Phoenix for us, they’ve been there for two days and

haven’t played in a week so you know they’re going to have a lot of

energy.”

Phoenix should be excited about facing a Philadelphia team

allowing a league-high 111.7 points per game. The 76ers also

struggle to defend the 3, allowing opponents to shoot 38.3

percent.

“The 3-point shot has plagued us all year and transition defense

needs to be better than it has been,” Philadelphia coach Brett

Brown said.

This will be a challenging stretch for the 76ers, who are 1-9

against West opponents with seven straight defeats. Philadelphia

has yielded 122.6 points per game during a 1-3 stretch before its

six-day break without games.

The Suns had been 0-4 in the second half of back-to-back games

before winning their last two such contests.

They are clearly very comfortable at home, where they are

shooting 41.3 percent on 3-pointers for the NBA’s second-best mark

and have made a league-best 10.2 per game.

Sixers star Evan Turner, meanwhile, is shooting 39.5 percent on

the road compared to 48.0 at home. He turned in his worst shooting

effort last Saturday, making 2 of 15 shots for 10 points in a

116-106 defeat at lowly Milwaukee.

Rookie Michael Carter-Williams has posted consecutive

double-doubles since returning after missing seven games due to a

skin infection on his right knee. The Sixers are a more respectable

7-10 when he plays.

Phoenix reserve Gerald Green has scored 22 in each of his last

two home games and could be eager to play Saturday. Green scored a

career-high 34 points against the Sixers the last time he saw them

April 17 with Indiana.