The Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers both started their 2011-12 NBA seasons with a loss. One team, at least, will be .500 on the season after they meet Wednesday night at the U.S. Airways Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Arizona time with Fox Sports Arizona providing the local TV broadcast.
The Suns lost their last game to the New Orleans Hornets 85-84 after failing to find enough offense and getting beat in the final minutes of play due to missed shots and poor execution out of a time out. Phoenix had a strong performance from Robin Lopez (21 points, 7 rebounds) and rookie Markieff Morris (7 points, 9 rebounds) but only got 24 total points from their four wing players.
The 76ers are coming off a 107-103 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. The defensive-minded Sixers held Portland to just 41 percent shooting, but the Blazers capitalized on 20 turnovers from Philly which led to 28 points. Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams combined for 7-of-13 from three-point land. The Sixers played eight guys in Portland with seven of them scoring in double figures.
Projected starting lineups:
- Point guard: Steve Nash -- Jrue Holliday
- Shooting guard: Jared Dudley -- Jodie Meeks
- Small forward: Andre Iguodala -- Grant Hill
- Power forward: Elton Brand -- Channing Frye
- Center: Spencer Hawes -- Marcin Gortat
- Key reserves: Suns (Robin Lopez, Shannon Brown, Markieff Morris) Sixers (Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner)
The 76ers swept the Suns last season in two games, including an embarrassing 123-110 home loss on December 29, 2010 that prompted Marcin Gortat to rip into his new team and led to Alvin Gentry simplifying the defensive schemes. In other words, it was a fairly significant game for the Suns season.
Philadelphia is a tough team with size up front, dangerous wing players and the dynamic Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams off the bench. Markieff Morris will likely get the Thad Young assignment which should be fun to watch while the Suns can try and counter Lou Williams with the defensive abilities of Ronnie Price.
As is often the case, Steve Nash will have his hands full with a speedy young point guard (Jrue Holliday) and the wings will be tested trying to stay in front of Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala. The 76ers are young, athletic, long and have their entire team from last season in tact. The Suns will need to get good shooting from Frye and Dudley and some kind of scoring punch off the bench to win this game.