This snow anticipating, Wednesday edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, the fun to watch Phoenix Suns.
After last night’s roller coaster win over the horrific Golden State Warriors, we have two angles on tonight’s game against PHX (35-23), one of the hottest teams in the League and the Western Conference’s current 5th seed for the NBA Playoffs. Here’s our breakdown for tonight…
1) If the Sixers hit the court tonight and play the way they did on both ends of the floor in the first half against GSW on Tuesday night, the Sixers can pull off an upset of PHX. That means on offense the Sixers must go into the post, specifically to Elton Brand and look to capitalize on either easy interior buckets or when the ball comes back out wide open looks for their guards. Eddie Jordan’s team must be smart with their up-tempo game and run-n-gun only when they have clear opportunities. Additionally, the Sixers will have to play tight D and rebound well as they did in the 1st half vs. GSW.
2) If tonight the Sixers play — on both ends — the way they did during the late 3rd and all of the 4thquarter against GSW on Tuesday night, the Suns will run them off the floor. The Sixers can not settle for long jumpers and 3PAs tonight. They simply don’t make enough of them to rely on those types of shots to sustain their offense, plus the Suns will use those rebounds to feed their lethal fast break offense. They also can not display the ole’ defense that reared its ugly head again during the 4th Q vs. GSW. The 76ers survived their second half collapse Tuesday night because the Warriors are awful on defense and they had an off night shooting. Thus GSW could not capitalize on the Sixers poor play in the late stages of the second half. Make no mistake, the Suns are significantly better then the GSW on offense and despite their reputation, PHX actually plays solid defense. They will take advantage of long stretches of poor play by the Sixers tonight and bury Philadunkia’s home team.
For a little more insight into the Suns team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Michael Schwartz from valleyofthesuns.com to answer two questions on PHX from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Suns squad from an insider’s perspective.
Michael Schwartz@ valleyofthesuns.com : Believe it or not, defense. Especially last night. They got key stops down the stretch, which is something they weren’t doing during their medicore December and January. Aside from really the Portland game (one of the losses in the last 11), their field-goal percentage D has been stellar during this run.
Philadunkia : Where did you stand on the Amare for Iguodala and Dalembert trade that allegedly the Sixers shot down for some mysterious reason?
Michael Schwartz@ valleyofthesuns.com : I was actually for it. I had two criteria for any Amare trade: a young impact player and a big you can plug in for Amare to be at least decent this season. Obviously Dalembert is no Amare, but this deal would have made the Suns really solid defensively while remaining a very good offensive club. I would have been interested to see how a more defensive-minded team would do with this style. Also, the Suns would have basically Nash and Iggy along witha quartet of solid youngsters on rookie contracts in 2011 when Dalembert and J-Rich expire, so they would have been set up to add a nice piece then, too.
Two Points of Analysis from Michael Schwartz@ valleyofthesuns.com :
1. The Suns are not an old team. Sure, they have two of the oldest starters in the league in Nash and Hill, but aside from them there’s J-Rich at 29, Amare at 27, LB at 27 and a bunch of kids. Everybody talks about the Suns being old, but aside from those two starters that is not true at all..
2. Goran Dragic is really starting to become a player. He put up a 16-10-4 in Nash’s absence last night and is showing a degree of confidence he lacked altogether last season. He has also proven to be a nice shooter (better than 40 percent from three) and has been the best backup point guard of the Nash years.
If you have not checked out the Suns Dancers section of the PHX website, go there right now. You can thank us later.