The Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers are both trying to build young rosters into playoff contenders, one is just doing it better right now. The 76ers will try to continue their success at home when they host the Suns on Monday.
Philadelphia is 5-1 in its last six home games and only lost three times in its last 10 games overall — to the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. “I think the thing that I most appreciate is the vocal side of this building, the ability to get low, get high, it really wears its heart on its sleeve,” 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters of the home arena. “We feel it. You’re on the sideline, you feel it. To ultimately be able to close out a game, and give these amazingly passionate fans something to walk out of the building and be proud of is fantastic.” The Suns fell to 1-3 on their six-game road trip with a 116-111 loss at Boston on Saturday and surrendered an average of 122 points in the three losses on the trip. Phoenix is last in the NBA in average points allowed (115.8) and allowed the Celtics to shoot 52.5 percent from the field.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Arizona (Phoenix), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE SUNS (8-16): Phoenix nearly erased a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter at Boston and feels like it missed an opportunity to knock off the team with the best record in the NBA. “We competed well, we’ve just got to not make mistakes and compete for more possessions than we did tonight,” interim coach Jay Triano told reporters after the game. “It’s just understanding the game and what’s available and not making mistakes down the stretch. Our discipline has to be better.” Shooting guard Devin Booker poured in 39 points on 16-of-29 shooting in Boston and is averaging 31 points on 55 percent shooting over the last three games.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (13-9): Philadelphia already seems to be preparing itself for a trip to the playoffs, and every win is part of a learning process that will help it in the spring. The 76ers rode 25 points and 10 rebounds from center Joel Embiid to a 108-103 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, pulling it out in the fourth quarter after squandering a lead in the third. “That’s a good win for us,” Embiid told reporters. “Getting those wins against what could be (a playoff team) is always good, learning the style of play.”
1. Suns C Tyson Chandler grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds on Saturday in his second double-double of the season.
2. 76ers rookie PG Ben Simmons scored five points on Saturday — his first game scoring in single digits.
3. Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 123-116 home win over Philadelphia on Dec. 23, 2016.
PREDICTION: 76ers 121, Suns 111