The NBA’s final undefeated team is no more.
Some might have predicted before the season that the Philadelphia 76ers would be the last team to take a mark in the loss column, but very few could have imagined which team would do it to them.
That team is the Phoenix Suns, who, despite missing 2018 top overall pick Deandre Ayton due to suspension, are very much worth your attention right now.
Suns topple Sixers, might be for real
Facing a Sixers team missing Joel Embiid (suspension), the Suns took it to the paint early and often in a 114-109 win. The team’s leader was Devin Booker, who dropped 40 points on 15-of-19 shooting and looked exactly like the player the Suns need to break out of the Western Conference basement and into playoff contention.
On the Sixers’ side, it was Al Horford (32 points) and Tobias Harris (24 points) leading the way on offense, but Ben Simmons picked a bad time for his worst game of the season. The point guard finished with only six points on 2-of-8 shooting.
As for the Suns, it seems their two biggest additions this offseason — head coach Monty Williams and point guard Ricky Rubio — have both helped them change into, well, a team that works now.
Booker is showing he can play off ball rather than be forced to facilitate everything on offense, and the team’s defense has been holding up through seven games. After finishing second-to-last in the league in defensive rating last year, the Suns are up to seventh this year.
The 5-2 Suns have a few more tests on deck, facing the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics in their next five games.
It’s still early, but hold up through that stretch and you might have the makings of a real playoff contender. And even if they stumble, there’s still reason to believe this young core might finally have a winning blueprint in place, especially once Ayton returns.
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