Entering Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, the Philadelphia 76ers knew it would not be a walk in the park. With the Suns’ offensive star power from famous players such as Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and more, the Sixers knew they had to be on their A-game defensively if they wanted to emerge.
Defense is usually where the Sixers thrive, but that was not the case on Saturday afternoon. At any point during the matchup it was not difficult for Phoenix to pack on points from the field. In the first quarter, they dropped 50 percent of their field goal efforts.
In the second quarter, Phoenix upgraded the ante and averaged 57 percent off the field. In the third, they hit 70 percent of their photos and then closed off in the evening by drilling 68-percent of their photos. Philly’s offense was okay Saturday, but their defense could not be in the eyes of Doc Rivers and Ben Simmons.
“We need to score more, but a team of just 61-percent opposed us,” Rivers ran. “So, honestly, crime is the last thing I think about right now. An average team shouldn’t shoot at 61 percent. You know, this is a good team. They shouldn’t be close. We need to be better defensively first, and then we’ll decide on the ball’s move. “
Ben Simmons, who was in charge of defending Phoenix top scorer Devin Booker for much of the matchup, explained what went wrong for the Sixers on the court Saturday afternoon.
“I think overall, we didn’t get back in transition,” Simmons explained. “That’s where it started. I mean, they fired 61 percent from the field, which is too high. We had a run and we got the lead, and then we let it in. We didn’t offend late in the game, and there were a few calls that didn’t go our way, but we can’t rely on calls. ”
While Simmons believes the Sixers were on the right track early in the game, star Devin Booker ‘s power went into the second half. “We had no patience towards the second half,” Simmons continued.
“We didn’t get too much relief; we didn’t get too many stops. It’s hard to get that speed when men hit hits. You have to take the ball out, so you can’t get the relays and find out, which was all part of it. “
A 54-point effort between Devin Booker and Chris Paul allowed Phoenix to distract the Sixers by beating them 120-111, offsetting their second-straight loss along the way. While the last two games have not been promising for the 76ers, the team is already looking forward to moving on and adopting the Utah Jazz on Monday.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_