Phoenix Suns cannot recover from sluggish start in loss to 76ers

Devin Booker, Tyrese Maxey, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Devin Booker, Tyrese Maxey, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After a fantastic homestand where the Phoenix Suns won five out of six games, the team had some momentum heading east to face the Philadelphia 76ers. Although the injury loss of Cameron Johnson hurts, the Suns did well at home without Deandre Ayton for a few games, so there is hope the team can get by. However, after a horrible first quarter, Phoenix never gave themselves a chance in a 100-88 loss in Philly.

Bright start quickly burns out

The Suns started about as well as a team can, winning the opening tip and Torrey Craig – starting in place of Johnson – hitting a three within seconds. Unfortunately for Craig and the Suns, that was more or less the highlight of the evening.

Craig finished the game with just the three points from that first bucket, and when the Sixers went ahead 6 to 5 with 8:36 left in the first, it was a lead they would never relinquish. That lead quickly became a 17 to 9 Sixers lead and then 27 to 13 as the Suns sat at 13 for more than two minutes while the 76ers pulled away.

When the quarter ended, the Suns were down by 13 and had already lost Chris Paul for the night, making it a tough ask.

Regardless, Monty Williams kept pushing, as Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges logged 87 combined minutes but only 43 points.

The Suns died by the three on Monday night

The Suns did get the lead down to as little as four points in the fourth quarter, but every time it looked like Phoenix was back in the game, Georges Niang hit a three-pointer to push the lead. Niang hit one with ten minutes to go to push the lead back to seven, a second with just under nine minutes left to push the lead to 10 88-78, and a third, fourth-quarter dagger to push the lead back to nine with just under six minutes to.

All told, Niang hit seven threes, proving to be a real difference-maker.

The Suns had chances, including multiple possessions, with the Sixers stuck on 88 points. However, two misses in three possessions from Ayton in the paint let the opportunity slip away.

Phoenix and Paul have an off day on Tuesday but are back on the road to face Minnesota on Wednesday before traveling to Florida to play Orlando and Miami as part of this trip.

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