76ers-Suns Preview

The Associated Press

One benefit to the Phoenix Suns' worst loss of the season is that fatigue shouldn't be a factor when they return to the court less than 24 hours later.

The Suns will be favored to bounce back from a dismal shooting effort and add to the woes of the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

Phoenix (17-11) fell 115-86 at Golden State on Friday, finishing with season lows of 36.0 percent from the field and 17.4 from 3-point range in its lowest scoring effort of the season. The Suns averaged 109.2 points while shooting 46.7 percent overall and 43.1 on 3s during an 8-1 stretch that preceded that defeat.

The lopsided game meant that no Phoenix player logged more than 31 minutes. Coach Jeff Hornacek's starters sat out a meaningless fourth quarter.

"That one, it just looked like there was no way we were going to come back and win that game so try to get some of those other guys in," Hornacek said.

While the Suns were getting blown out in the Bay Area, Philadelphia (8-20) was waiting for them back in Arizona in an odd set of circumstances. The 76ers arrived in Arizona on Thursday to begin a five-game road stretch against Western Conference foes and this contest will their first in exactly a week.

"We play again tomorrow night," Hornacek said. "Philly's been waiting in Phoenix for us, they've been there for two days and haven't played in a week so you know they're going to have a lot of energy."

Phoenix should be excited about facing a Philadelphia team allowing a league-high 111.7 points per game. The 76ers also struggle to defend the 3, allowing opponents to shoot 38.3 percent.

"The 3-point shot has plagued us all year and transition defense needs to be better than it has been," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said.

This will be a challenging stretch for the 76ers, who are 1-9 against West opponents with seven straight defeats. Philadelphia has yielded 122.6 points per game during a 1-3 stretch before its six-day break without games.

The Suns had been 0-4 in the second half of back-to-back games before winning their last two such contests.

They are clearly very comfortable at home, where they are shooting 41.3 percent on 3-pointers for the NBA's second-best mark and have made a league-best 10.2 per game.

Sixers star Evan Turner, meanwhile, is shooting 39.5 percent on the road compared to 48.0 at home. He turned in his worst shooting effort last Saturday, making 2 of 15 shots for 10 points in a 116-106 defeat at lowly Milwaukee.

Rookie Michael Carter-Williams has posted consecutive double-doubles since returning after missing seven games due to a skin infection on his right knee. The Sixers are a more respectable 7-10 when he plays.

Phoenix reserve Gerald Green has scored 22 in each of his last two home games and could be eager to play Saturday. Green scored a career-high 34 points against the Sixers the last time he saw them April 17 with Indiana.