The 76ers lost their second straight game, with Saturday’s 120-111 defeat to the host Phoenix Suns. This is only the Sixers’ second multi-game losing streak of the season.
Here are three reasons why the Sixers lost.
Booker to the left
It’s too simplistic to say the Sixers lost because they were torched by Devin Booker, who scored 36 points. Booker is so dangerous due to the variety of his game. He hit three three-pointers, and also hurt the Sixers on mid-range jumpers and drives.
He plays at his own pace and in this game didn’t rush anything.
What made Booker especially difficult to defend was that he scored five of his 14 field goals by using his opposite (left) hand. Here is one example.
It’s difficult enough playing Booker to his right, but when he can score dribbling to his left and shooting lefthanded, stopping him becomes almost impossible.
For the second straight game, Shake Milton was out with a left ankle sprain and the Sixers’ bench wasn’t able to compensate for his absence.
The Sixers’ reserves were outscored 49-20, and that was even misleading. Seven of the Sixers’ points by reserves were scored in the final minute and a half when the game had already been decided.
Former Sixer Dario Saric led the Suns reserves with 15 points, including this backwards basket.
Saric had a plus-18 rating, second best on the team to fellow reserve Cameron Johnson, who was plus-21.
Paul in the fourth
While Suns point guard Chris Paul was effective all game, he stepped it up in the fourth quarter when Phoenix outscored the Sixers, 34-30. Paul finished with 18 points, 10 assists, four turnovers and eight rebounds. In the fourth quarter he controlled the action. Playing 10:38 in the fourth quarter, Paul had six points, shooting 3 for 4. He also had five assists, one turnover, three rebounds and a plus-7 rating.
His five fourth quarter assists accounted for two layups, two dunks and a three-pointer. Paul totally controlled the tempo all game and especially in the fourth quarter. At 35 he showed that he can still play at an extremely high level.