How long can this last?
The Sixers are in Phoenix Monday night to play the surprising 4-2 Suns, seeking to move to 6-0 after an incredible comeback win Saturday over the Trail Blazers.
Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:
When: 9 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
It’s not all about Booker
The Sixers are focused on stopping Devin Booker, and that’s very understandable. Booker went for 37 points in both of the meetings between the teams last season.
“Devin Booker is one of the best scorers this league has,” Josh Richardson told reporters Saturday night in Portland. “We’ve gotta make it tough on him, try to get the ball out of his hands. They’ve been rolling, so we can’t come out flat or they’re going to make us pay for it. I think just asserting ourselves in the first half is going to be huge for us.”
Booker’s scoring average is actually slightly down from last year through the Suns’ first six games, at 23.8 points per game. He’s been more efficient, though, and is 16 of 34 (47.1 percent) from three-point range.
Phoenix is sharing the ball well, with a league-best 68.8 assist percentage. New addition Ricky Rubio is a big part of that, averaging 8.2 assists per game along with 11.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
A reunion for Horford
The Al Horford-Aron Baynes frontcourt helped kick the Sixers out of the playoffs in 2017-18. Those two will be playing against each other tonight.
Baynes has taken over as the Suns’ starting center following DeAndre Ayton’s 25-game suspension for a positive test for a diuretic. The Australian big man has had an excellent start to the season, knocking down 12 of 26 threes (46.2 percent) and averaging 15.0 points in a little over 23 minutes per game.
Horford has been everything the Sixers have asked for through five games and will start again at center with Joel Embiid serving the second game of a two-game suspension for his fight Wednesday with the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Suns have a couple of familiar faces in head coach Monty Williams, Brett Brown’s assistant last season, and forward Dario Saric.
After being shipped to Minnesota last November as part of the Sixers’ trade for Jimmy Butler, Saric was dealt from the Timberwolves to Phoenix this July in a draft-night deal. Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jonah Bolden and Furkan Korkmaz are the only players on the Sixers’ current roster that he played with during his time in Philadelphia, which puts the volume of moves general manager Elton Brand has made into context.
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