The Eagles had their most stressful game of the season last night.
The Sixers have what could be their least stressful game of the season tonight.
In town are the 8-16 Phoenix Suns, who currently have the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference, ahead of the Mavs, Kings and Grizzlies. (Five of those eight wins are against the worst teams in the NBA — Bulls, Bulls, Kings, Lakers, Nets.)
The Suns, who were the first team this season to fire their head coach, have allowed a mind-boggling 115.8 points per game. That's 2.5 points more per game than they allowed even last season when they also ranked last in the NBA.
No NBA team since the 1990-91 Nuggets have allowed this many points per game.
This is what happens you don't have an NBA-caliber starting point guard and you (appear to) strike out with a couple high lottery picks like Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, who on some nights don't even have the instincts to stay on the court.
All you need to know about Phoenix's defensive mentality and how much this tanking team cares about stopping the opponent can be found in this 15-second clip:
Suns defense 😩 pic.twitter.com/PIWEM5pEje— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 2, 2017
Offensively, the Suns' best player (and really their only threat) is Devin Booker, who's averaging 23.6 points on 45 percent shooting with 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists. In late-and-close situations, Booker also becomes the Suns' primary ballhandler because they have so few solid options.
Defensively, look for the Suns to throw a lot of Tyson Chandler and Greg Monroe at Joel Embiid. Chandler, who moves in and out of the Suns' rotation, is no longer an elite rim protector at 35, but he's still averaging just under 10 rebounds per game.
Monroe is still a capable post player but on most plays probably won't have the agility required to defend Embiid without fouling.
Centers, in particular, have had a lot of success against Phoenix this season. Brook Lopez, a middle-of-the-pack big man, has three double-doubles against them (19 and 11, 19 and 10, 15 and 10). His brother Robin, a lesser scorer, also put up 16 and 10 against the Suns. And then you have the dominant nights elite bigs like Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside have already had against the Suns.
Teams have also had plenty of success against Phoenix from distance. The Suns have the second-highest opponents' field goal percentage from 20 to 24 feet (42 percent, ahead of only the Cavs).
So, on top of Embiid being able to get his, JJ Redick and Robert Covington should also have plenty of open looks. It's a get-right game for everybody.
And, hey, if the Sixers build up enough of a lead, perhaps even Jahlil Okafor — inactive the last two games — makes an on-court cameo.