Sixers-Suns observations, best and worst awards: Jimmy Butler, Markelle Fultz and his continuous shoulder saga
Jimmy Butler needs to get the ball more, especially in the half-court, if the Sixers expect to compete with the elite teams in the NBA.
Here are my main takeaways and best and worst awards from the 76ers' 119-114 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
– Markelle Fultz needs better awareness and to stop leaving his feet as often as he does on defense. That doomed him at the 1:13 mark of the first quarter. He left his feet while guarding Devin Booker in the paint. The Suns standout pump-faked, and Fultz hit Booker while landing and was called for a foul.
– Jimmy Butler needs to get the ball more, especially in the half-court, if the Sixers expect to compete with the NBA's elite teams. The Sixers swingman took only shots, with five coming in the final three quarter. He needs more.
– Apparently, things haven't changed for the Sixers on the defensive end. Devin Booker became the latest in a long list of players to finish with at least 30 points against them. They continue to leave guys wide open on the perimeter.
– So much for Wilson Chandler's minutes restriction. The power forward played 31:17 — the fourth-most minutes on the team and around his career average. That's a good thing, because the Sixers will need him on the court knocking down occasional jumpers and doing the little things to open scoring opportunities for Joel Embiid and JJ Redick.
Best and worst
Best performance: Booker gets this in a losing effort, because it's hard to overlook his game-high 37 points and team-high eight assists. He was a thorn in the Sixers' side before fouling out with 2.6 seconds left.
Worst performance: I had to give this to Jamal Crawford. The Suns reserve guard had his worst scoring output in the past five games, finishing with one point on 0-for-6 shooting. He graded out at a game-worst minus-13.
Best defensive performance: This goes to T.J. McConnell. The Sixers reserve point guard had two steals in just 8:31 of action.
Worst statistic: This goes to Embiid's six turnovers. That was the only blemish on a night when he had 33 points, a game-high 17 rebounds, three steals and one rebound.
Best statistic: This goes to the Sixers' 53 rebounds. It marked the seventh time they grabbed 50 or more rebounds.
Worst of the worst: The report that Fultz will leave the team while he sees a shoulder specialist. This report comes after McConnell took his backup point-guard minutes in the second half Monday.