Twas 3 nights after Christmas, and all through the NBA, not a team could the Sixers defend, not even after a week's rest. The Suns hung the Sixers for 115 points without much care, as Miles Plumlee scored 22 points (a career-high) and also collected 13 rebounds in a 115-101 victory that does not do the game actions justice.
On the surface, the Sixers defended the three well. Phoenix shot just 9-33 from distance. P.J. Tucker, who entered the game shooting well over 40% on threes, went 0-5. Channing Frye, whose only job is to launch threes, missed all of his attempts. It would seem that, if you went by the box, that the Sixers at least improved on that aspect of the game. 115 points is still a lot, but in a fast-paced game was at least semi-understandable.
Except that the Sixers were very, very fortunate to only allow 115. Almost every three that Phoenix attempted was clearly open (off the top of my head, only Eric Bledsoe's off-the-shot-clock attempt seemed clearly contested). Phoenix just missed a bunch they normally make.
Instead, the Suns had to rely on Plumlee's career night, along with a strong effort from Goran Dragic. He did most of his damage on post plays, one on one against a still-pretty terrible post defender in Spencer Hawes. I noted in the preview that Plumlee was "legitimately not bad." The Sixers made him look much better than that all night.
Despite Thaddeus Young's 30 point game (more on this below) they couldn't keep it close in the end. Once Phoenix finally hit a few threes, it was all over.
Other notes and tidbits:
- Evan Turner missed the game with knee swelling. He's expected back for tonight's game.
- Michael Carter-Williams picked up the inefficient shot-taking slack that Turner normally assumes, to mixed results. 27 points on 28 shots is not good. However, MCW usually does not have to pick up so much slack on his own. That he did so with middling efficiency isn't necessarily encouraging - but it's not discouraging. He still played aggressive defense (sometimes too aggressive) and tried to get others involved.
- Thaddeus Young scored 30 in under 30 minutes, with the help of 7 free throw and 7 three point attempts. Efficiency! Trade Value!
- Hollis Thompson played around 35 minutes somehow. I think I remember him doing about 2 things in that time period.
- That's 2 more things than Elliot Williams did in 27 minutes, though.
- There was a bit of discussion about the Sixers and their body language late in the game. I'll have more on this in the next Tank Watch (which should run tomorrow).
- As noted during the broadcast, Marcus Morris is the likable Suns twin. He scored 18 in 25 minutes, but more importantly is an Eagles fan. Brother Markieff, who struggled for a lot of the night, is a Cowboys fan.
Full 76ers vs Suns coverage can be found here.
And check out Bright Side Of The Sun for Phoenix's perspective on their victory and all Suns coverage.