The Phoenix Suns got off to a rough start in their second game of the season, and then things went from bad to worse. The 103-83 loss was the first time the Suns have started a season 0-2 since the 1996-97 NBA season. A 10-2 run at the end of the first quarter gave the Sixers a 25-18 lead, and with inconsistent play, the Suns were down by 14 at halftime. The Suns shot 32.5 percent from the field, and their 34 points in the first half matched their season low from last year. Things got a lot worse when the Sixers tacked on 19 unanswered points, while the Suns went scoreless during the first 6:12 of the second half. The 76ers amassed a 34 point lead during the third quarter while shooting 62.3 percent, and the game was basically over by the start of the fourth period.
The Philadelphia 76ers team concept by head coach Doug Collins is continuing from last year. They had six players score in double digits, led by Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, and Thaddeus Young, who all scored 15. Spencer Hawes added nine points and led the team with 11 rebounds. As a team, the 76ers shot 47.7 percent for the game, and made seven of 17 from three. Andre Iguodala also led the team with six rebounds and four steals. The 76ers ended with 11 steals, 20 fast break points, and 50 points in the paint. This marks the Sixers third straight win against the Suns, and two straight in Phoenix for the first time since the 1984-85 season.
Steve Nash had an off night as he got into foul trouble early on and could never really get in sync. He ended up shooting two for 11 with six turnovers and only one assist on the night. The Suns as a team shot just 26.1 percent from the field in the first quarter, and made two of 11 three pointers in the game. Matching his career high, Ronnie Price led the Suns with 16 points, and also led the team with four assists. After scoring 21 points in the season opener, Robin Lopez finished with seven points and six rebounds. Channing Frye had eight rebounds in the first eight minutes of the game, but played just five minutes the rest of the game. Hakim Warrick, who did not play at all in the season opener, was the first player off the bench and finished with 14 points. Starter Jared Dudley did not score in the game, and the rest of the Suns starters scored a total of 24 points. The Suns also struggled to get fast break opportunities, scoring just 6 points in the game. Head coach Alvin Gentry said “We’re struggling mightily right now offensively.” Defensively, the Suns looked unsure of what they were doing. They ended up double teaming players up top, which left players open underneath. Off the ball, the Suns left their man uncontested for open three pointers. Grant Hill added “Collectively, we are not in a good rhythm.”
Although the Suns are in good company with the Lakers and Mavericks starting 0-2, and the Celtics starting 0-3, they have a lot of work to be done both offensively and defensively. The Suns are still searching for the right rotation, and will have to make adjustments on the fly. Things do not get any easier for the Suns, as they go on the road with back-to-back games against New Orleans and Oklahoma City starting Friday.