Game Thread: 76ers (34-31) at Suns (36-31)

Suns 126, 76ers 116










Game three of the Suns’ “We believe” tour continues tonight with a visit from the 76ers.

The game kicks off a four-game homestand that will go a long way toward showing how realistic a miraculous playoff push could be.

They almost have to sweep it, but if nothing else win the first two and then split the final two contests against tough Western Conference opponents.

The 76ers will come into this one jacked up but perhaps a bit tired after stunning the vaunted Lakers on a buzzer-beating Andre Iguodala three after AI had missed his first six treys of the ballgame.

The Sixers scored a mere 12 points in the third – a full 34 points less than the Suns did in their most recent third quarter – and trailed by 14 in the fourth before pulling off the comeback.

That means Philly enters this one hot having won four in a row, but it’s never easy to fly into a new city in the wee hours of the morning coming off a back-to-back, especially when your opponent is coming off two full days of rest.

Although they’re only a middle of the pack team in pace factor, the Sixers pushed the ball down the Suns’ throats earlier this season in Philadelphia, so improved transition defense is a must.

The Suns did a great job of running as well in the first quarter of that contest but then run out of gas playing their own second game of a back-to-back road set while the Sixers were sitting at home waiting for them. It’s interesting that the schedule makers are giving Phoenix a touch of revenge on that count.

If the Suns fall behind by 12 to 14 points in the third quarter, I still expect to see Nash, Shaq and Grant Hill out for the fourth quarter, but of course Terry Porter sat his veterans at the end of that first meeting in a white flag move that seemed to show he was giving up on a winnable game days before the Suns decided to give up on him.

With the Suns’ margin of error as slim as it is, they can’t afford another slipup in a winnable game.

Pregame update

If you don’t notice No. 3 on the Suns, don’t worry, they didn’t make a roster move.

It’s just that Jared Dudley cut off his dreadlocks to go with a closely-shaven look a la what Allen Iverson recently did.

“I don’t know if I feel lighter, but I definitely feel better,” Dudley said. “It’s a new look for me, a new role, a new look, just keep it going.”

Dudley said he had been a dreadlock guy since he was a sophomore or junior in high school. He plans to donate the hair to Locks of Love, something Jason Richardson suggested.

Tags: Jared Dudley

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