The Phoenix Suns bring a lot of baggage to this match with the Philadelphia 76ers. The league-worst defense hasn't shown much improvement, despite the constant coaching emphasis, and the rotations and bench play are still a disappointment. The Suns hope that the debut of Vince Carter will be a step in the right direction as he brings the team a different offensive look and, more importantly, allows Coach Gentry to establish a set rotation for his reserves.
"Obviously, the talent level there is pretty special," Gentry told reporters this week. "We're excited about him. We'll get him out there and see how long he can go, put him in some situations. I think he's eventually going to be everything we thought he could be."
The Suns (13-16) are losers of seven of their last nine games and understand that if they hope to make the playoffs, they will soon need to show signs of improvement. Losing to the league's best teams is painful, but understandable. Losing to sub-.500 teams like they did on Sunday against the Clippers is a sure recipe for a failed season.
The Sixers come to town with a 12-19 overall record, but have been playing better of late. They split their last ten games, with four of the five losses coming to top teams in the league, while they managed to also notch wins over the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets. This is a team very capable of beating the Suns if the home team doesn't play much better.
The 76ers are led on offense by Elton Brand's 15.1 points, but overall have a balanced attack, with six players averaging over ten points per game.
The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Arizona and Sports 620 radio. Fans can follow along with the live game thread at Suns blog, Bright Side of the Sun.