Philadelphia 76ers vs. Phoenix Suns Matchup Preview
NBA action from the bubble in Orlando continues as the Philadelphia 76ers (42-28) will face off against the red-hot Phoenix Suns (32-39). The Sixers are coming off of a 124-121 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, who were led by 51 points from Damian Lillard. On the other hand, the Suns have been the hottest team in the NBA as of late. They are coming off of a 128-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder led by Devin Booker with 35 points. The Suns have won all six of their games thus far in the NBA restart and have placed themselves in the thick of the race for the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The Suns are now only one game back of the 8th seed and are fighting with the Spurs and Trail Blazers to claim the spot to force a play-in tournament. The Sixers, a team that has already clinched their playoff spot, has had some bad injury luck as of late. It was announced Monday afternoon that surgery on Ben Simmons’ injured knee would require him to miss the rest of the season. In addition, the Sixers will be without Joel Embiid against the Suns, as he sustained an ankle injury in their last game. Although Embiid’s injury is not as severe as Simmons’, it is still a massive blow for Philadelphia. On the other hand, the Sixers’ injuries open the door for the Suns to continue their push towards the playoffs.
Time: 4:30 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
Channel: FOX, NBCSN
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76ers Starting 5
The Sixers are entering this game very banged up. They are going to be without their two best players in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Sixers are a game behind both the Heat and the Pacers, who are tied at the 4th and 5th spots in the West. Philadelphia needs to play well in their last three games of bubble action if they want to catch up and improve their standing in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for them, injuries have derailed them, and it is going to be a challenge for this team to win without their stars. In addition to playing the Suns, the 76ers also have to face the Raptors and the Rockets. Those are also two very talented teams, and Philadelphia needs to hope that Embiid can return in time to help them in those games. As for this game against the Suns, they will need significant contributions from Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Josh Richardson. The three remaining full-time starters for this team will need to play well down the stretch if they hope to win. Horford will most likely be switched to center, which is a position that he has played plenty of throughout his career. Richardson poured in 34 last game against Portland, and he will need to carry another big offensive load against Phoenix. He will also be tasked with guarding Devin Booker, which certainly be an easy job either.
Suns Starting 5
Things could not be going better for the Phoenix Suns right now. Coming into the bubble, there were minimal expectations for the Suns. Many people were surprised that they even got the invite to attend the league restart. The Suns weren’t a team on anyone’s radar, and Devin Booker himself had never won three games in a row in his entire NBA career. Now, the Suns are riding a six-game winning streak, beating every team they’ve faced thus far in the bubble. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton have been playing great, but the Suns have gotten contributions from some unexpected players as well. Mikal Bridges has been an elite defender and solid scoring option for the Suns while Cameron Payne, who I thought wasn’t even in the league anymore, has been a reliable scoring option off the bench. Jevon Carter has also provided hustle and great defense off the bench. We have yet to see Aron Baynes be played, who was a part-time starter for the team this season. The Suns probably don’t want to mess with their lineup right now, as this team seems to be clicking and continuing to win games. After this game against the Sixers, the Suns have one more game against the Mavericks. They need to stay the course and keep playing good basketball if they want to sneak into that 8th seed.
76ers vs Suns Fantasy Basketball Angle
For this matchup’s daily fantasy angle, there’s only one guy I should be talking about. Devin Booker has been balling so far in the bubble, leading his team to six straight wins and right into playoff contention. When I saw him pull up from the logo in yesterday’s game against the Thunder, I knew I would be highlighting him. The guy is feeling it right now and is playing winning basketball. It doesn’t matter who his matchup on the other team might be, Book is going to get his either way. Booker is averaging 26.4 points per game on 48% shooting, which is the highest percentage he has shot in his entire career. He is playing more efficiently, and the Suns have benefitted as a result. Expect Booker to continue to put up points in this game against the 76ers.
76ers vs Suns Betting Odds
76ers Odds: +370
Suns Odds: -270
Considering that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are out for this game, the oddsmakers have favored the Suns in this matchup. I would have to agree and pick the Suns as well. Quite frankly, they have played so well that it’d be hard to pick against them in any situation right now. Something is clicking for this team, and they are on an absolute roll as of late. While it is tough to win seven games in a row, I think that the Suns’ matchup against Philly is quite favorable. For that reason, I would suggest picking the Suns in this game.