The Phoenix suns came into Philly tonight in search of history. This was their 15th and final road game against Eastern Conference teams, their record in those games coming in, 14-0. No team has ever gone a full season without losing a road game to the opposite division, and the Suns weren't the first. The Sixers came out tonight and never trailed in an impressive 99-94 win.
I picked up my laptop as soon as the starting lineups were announced, prepared to write a scathing "Fire Mo Cheeks" post because Willie "Garbage Time" Green was in the starting lineup. I decided to hold off, mainly because picking on Willie is like beating a dead horse at this point. I'm glad I did, because Green came out red hot. He lit the Suns up for 14 points in the first quarter. He reverted back to Willie Green standards thereafter, finishing 9-19 from the floor in 31 minutes, but his contribution was a key component in this win. Cheeks also, wisely, sat Green most of the second half, allowing the team's best five (Miller, Iguodala, Korver, Hunter and Dalembert) to fend off numerous runs from the Suns.
Andre Iguodala was exceptional again tonight, and he's your player of the game. Iggy finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. On three consecutive possessions down the stretch Iguodala hit a clutch 3-pointer, assisted on an Andre Miller jumper and assisted on a Joe Smith pop in the lane. Those three possessions quelled Phoenix's final run, sealing the win for the Sixers. Korver had ice in his veins down the stretch, going 7-7 from the line.
Phoenix was without Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw. Marion's absence was reflected in the team rebounding numbers, the Sixers finished with a 50-37 edge on the boards. Dalembert played another spirited game, grabbing 12. Korver chipped in with 6 off the bench. Over the past couple of years, the Suns have been the one team that has consistently blown the Sixers away. They've never been able to run with the Suns, nor slow them down. Tonight's game is a really good sign. The Sixers perimeter defense was great, they limited the wide open threes for the Suns, and held them to a dismal 10/26 from downtown.
With a little help from the Knicks (currently struggling with the Celtics) and Utah (trailing the Grizzlies late in the fourth) this win could wind up not hurting the Sixers' draft position. A good night all around.