Monty Williams

Sixers at Suns: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Sixers at Suns: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

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. 

Familiar faces 

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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Sixers hire Ime Udoka as assistant coach, team source confirms

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USA Today Images/Mark J. Rebilas

Sixers hire Ime Udoka as assistant coach, team source confirms

The Sixers just continue to pluck from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree.

The team is hiring longtime Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, a team source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium was the first to report the news. 

Udoka will take over as Brett Brown’s top assistant after Monty Williams left the organization to take a head coaching job with the Suns. Brown and Udoka crossed paths when Udoka was a player in San Antonio and were on the same staff for one season.

Udoka, 41, has worked under Popovich since 2012, right after he retired from playing. He spent parts of seven seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, Lakers, Knicks, Trail Blazers and Kings. He also spent a few seasons overseas. Udoka’s late father was of Nigerian descent so he also got to play for the Nigerian national team. 

Udoka coached San Antonio’s summer league teams in 2013 and 2014. He was interviewed for the Cavaliers' head coaching job after the season before Cleveland ultimately hired Michigan coach John Beilein. With Ettore Messina entrenched as Popovich’s top assistant, perhaps serving as Brown’s top guy will help boost Udoka’s profile.

The team has also brought in Spurs assistant Cameron Hodges as a player development coach. With Brown, Udoka and Hodges, Popovich’s imprint is clear on the Sixers’ coaching staff.

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Sixers assistant Monty Williams leaving for Suns' head coaching job

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AP Images

Sixers assistant Monty Williams leaving for Suns' head coaching job

Updated: 2:14 p.m. 

It was only a matter of time before Monty Williams found himself another head coaching gig.

The Sixers' top assistant coach has agreed to take the head job with the Phoenix Suns. The deal is for five years, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He also drew interest from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brett Brown will lose yet another member of his coaching staff, but Williams will stick around until the end of the Sixers' playoff run, according to a team official. Billy Lange departed earlier this season to replace Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph’s. The team did promote pro scout Lindsey Harding to assistant coach, making her the first female coach in the team’s history. Jim O’Brien, who was serving in an advisory role, has also taken on more responsibilities on Brown’s bench.

Williams spent five years with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans and accumulated a 173-221 record, making the postseason twice. He was let go in 2015 and then took an assistant job with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He began his coaching career under Nate McMillan in Portland and has also served under Mike Krzyzewski as an assistant for Team USA.

In 2016, Williams’ wife died tragically because of injuries caused by an automobile accident. After two years away from coaching, Williams joined Brown’s staff as an assistant this season.

A former first-round pick out of Notre Dame in 1994, Williams spent nine years in the NBA. In his final season, he played in 21 games for the Sixers. He also spent time in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich.

While with the Spurs, Williams developed a relationship with Brown, who Williams in September said "was the guy that gave me a shot" as a coaching staff intern.

“Let’s just start with the person: Anybody that pays attention even a little bit understands that he’s elite people," Brown said Friday on a conference call. "And I think that he is an emerging relatively young coach that is incredibly relational. I think he’s prideful in studying how to be an NBA coach with all the people that he’s been around, with Pop — I hope that he’s taken something from our program. ... I just think that Phoenix, sometimes when you hear about fit — I felt the same thing when Billy Lange went to St. Joe’s, it was to me a completely natural fit. I think that from a gut feel and outside observation, the Phoenix Suns and Monty Williams are a fantastic partnership. I think he’s going to be great.”

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