With the help of Liberty Ballers Michael Levin we preview tonight's match-up between the Phoenix Suns (17-11) and the Philadelphia 76ers (8-20).
PG -- Eric Bledsoe v. Michael Carter-Williams
PF --Channing Frye v. Thaddeus Young
C --Miles Plumlee v. Spencer Hawes
Suns Injuries: OUT Emeka Okafor (Neck)
When we talked at the beginning of the season we were both sold on the concept of Philly and Phoenix being very bad. Instead they each started 5-5 with quality play from new point guards in town. Since then the 76ers have taken a dip, but a lot of that has to do with Michael Carter-Williams. With, they are 7-10 and look like a competitive team. Without they look like a team that relies on Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes for wins. Which is the Dr. Jekyll and which is the Mr. Hyde?
They are a very fun team to watch with MCW might even be in the playoff picture if he didn't get hurt. Not a common sentiment in the pre-season... --Kris Habbas
That's more of a reflection on how bad the East is than the Sixers having any talent. MCW is great, sure, but he's also got lots and lots of areas to improve upon -- notably his shooting efficiency. There's no question that they held him out as a precaution (again, why rush?), but even mostly with him, they haven't won a regulation game in almost two months. Their last four wins have been in overtime. So not only are they bad, but they've gotten lucky. That's going to normalize.
Things are going great on our end. Trades are coming, they're 8-20, and the two teams ahead of them (Utah and Milwaukee) are getting better and healthier. Hopefully a few teams in the East will turn into buyers and the Sixers can separate themselves a bit.
Think the Suns' success is gonna maintain? -- Michael Levin
The interesting thing about the Suns success, and I have talked about this before, is that it is being done with no experience. None of these players or coaches are used to playing at this level for 82 games. Channing Frye is, but that is about it. They have a good chance of maintaining their success if they keep doing what they are doing. Attacking, shooting well, and playing with great energy every night. They proved that is not a given with losses to Utah and Sacramento earlier this season before the winning streak.
What can we expect to see from the 76ers tonight? Personally I am excited to see MCW live, but what else should the Suns be worried about? -- KH
MCW on Bledsoe/Dragic should be fun. Expect the Suns to hit 45 threes. Sixers just cannot guard the perimeter. It's hysterical.
In terms of experience, the Sixers have yet to play anyone over the age of 25 for even a single minute this season. It's wildly impressive commitment. -- ML
That is an under-emphasized point of the NBA right now. Every given night there is another very good to great point guard coming to town. The Suns are going from Stephen Curry doing a little bit of everything with a triple-double to Michael Carter-Williams on back-to-back nights which posses a huge challenge.
The 76ers should at least be well rested, right? -- KH