When two of the five best teams of the year 2022 face each other, there is a good chance that this poster will give birth to a duel as contested and balanced as it is filled with suspense and pleasant to watch.
Precisely, the clash of the night between the Sixers and the Suns was no exception to the rule, and it was ultimately the best ranked of the two franchises, namely that of Arizona, which managed to win ( 114-109). After a “money-time” once again smoothly conducted.
As often led by a super Devin Booker (35 points), the players of Phoenix conclude their “road-trip” to the East on a very high note. For their part, the teammates of Joel Embiid (34 points, 12 rebounds) and Tobias Harris (30 points, 7 rebounds) can harbor regrets for their failed end to the game, where they could hope to leave with something other than a defeat.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— Phoenix killer than Philadelphia. Their reputation is well established, but the Suns have once again shown that they are unsinkable (or almost) in the “money-time”. Led 99-97 by the Sixers, 4:30 minutes from the end, the teammates of Devin Booker and Chris Paul then managed an 11-3 to fly away on the scoreboard. Unable to find the fault at 3-pts in the second half (1/10), Monty Williams’ men did not panic and looked for their points in the paint, free throws or at half distance, in order to take down this menacing Philly team that scuttled itself.
— Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris struggle, in vain. Cruel outcome for Embiid and Harris, who probably had their best game of the season together. Except that the leaders of the Sixers were abandoned by their teammates, unable to iNFLuence this part, apart from Tyrese Maxey in the second and third quarters. A frustrating meeting, where Philadelphia had room to win, which was played out on details, in finish. Like on this offensive rebound from Jae Crowder, after a missed throw which brought a 3-pt from Chris Paul, or on this loss of the ball from Embiid after a superb defense on Paul…
— Devin Booker is still leading the way. Before meeting the Bucks on Thursday evening, for the remake of the last Finals, the crazy Suns scorer had decided to pull out all the stops during this “back-to-back” in Chicago and then Philadelphia. The day after his 38-point game in Illinois, he planted 35 in Pennsylvania. Decisive and untenable at mid-distance with his feints or his provocations, despite the presence of Matisse Thybulle or the Sixers mascot opposite, “D-Book” confirms his excellent form at the moment and he needed a new card from him to resist the Joel Embiid – Tobias Harris tandem.
✅ Mikal Bridges. A native of Philadelphia, who went through Villanova University and incidentally drafted by the Sixers before being traded to the Suns, the 25-year-old winger took advantage of his arrival in a city he cherishes to be a hit. With his 23 points, 9/14 on shots, he thus confirmed his good dispositions of the moment in attack (20.3 points on average in six games, before tonight), establishing himself as the perfect lieutenant of Devin Booker. Monty Williams’ development in the offensive field of the Swiss army knife is one of the keys to Phoenix’s season and he finally seems to be finding his rhythm there. A good omen for the future…
✅ JaVale McGee. As against the Bulls the day before, the pivot of the Suns has done a monster job under the panels. In double-double (15 points and 12 rebounds, in 18 minutes), he thus made the interiors of the Sixers suffer, Andre Drummond in the lead, never able to oppose his incessant activity under the circle. Both to ask for the ball after a screen and to scrape balls on the offensive rebound and conclude in stride. A real luxury for Monty Williams to be able to have such an effective replacement position 5, in relay of a Deandre Ayton not always iNFLuential and regular.
⛔ Seth Curry. Limited to only 3 points, 1/9 on shots, the back of the Sixers went through this meeting like a shadow. Terribly clumsy and unable to weigh in scoring, like the majority of shooters in this part, Stephen Curry’s little brother was sorely lacking in support from Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, lonely and who would have looked favorably on the fifteen points usual for their teammate. Especially in defense, he also suffered (5 fouls) in front of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Expected rebound for Curry, therefore.
⛔ Cameron Johnson. Like Seth Curry, the Suns sniper never knew how to set the sights that night. Author of 7 small points, at an awful 1/7 at 3-pts, the 25-year-old harvested a bunch of great opportunities in attack, like Jae Crowder (0/5 behind the arc). Except that, unlike Crowder, Johnson did not have the same contribution to the rebound (14 catches) or in defense and his clumsiness made him almost useless for his team, on the floor. Even if the winger remains to be watched like milk on fire, given his quality of shooting.
Philadelphia (32-22) : reception of Oklahoma City, on the night of Friday to Saturday (01:00).
Phoenix (44-10) : reception of Milwaukee, on the night of Thursday to Friday (04:00).