Game Preview: Phoenix Suns(6-7) vs. Philadelphia 76ers(7-6)

Dec. 28, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns center (4) Marcin Gortat takes a shot under pressure from Philadelphia 76ers center (00) Spencer Hawes in the first quarter at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Phoenix Suns(6-7) are beginning a six game road trip that tips-off tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers(7-6) in what will be a homecoming for Markieff Morris who will play in Philadelphia for the first time in his career; Phoenix didn’t get a chance to play in Philadelphia last season due to the shorten season.

The Suns have won 2 straights game while the 76ers are coming off a overtime toss last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 76ers were supposedly be one of the power houses in the eastern conference this season after the acquisition of Andrew Bynum to go along with their highly talented young roster. However with Bynum yet to play a game the 76ers are sitting at the 7th spot in the eastern conference through the first 13 games.

Morris has started the last 2 games for the Suns and he’s been nothing but awesome. Morris is averaging 21 points, 5 rebounds, and shooting 72% from the field in his two starts. The stage is set in Philadelphia tomorrow night for Morris to have a breakout game in his hometown and put up a great show for his family and friends who will be in attendance tomorrow night.

The Suns are the underdogs heading into tomorrow night’s match-up as the 76ers are the favorite in this game by 5.0 points according to ESPN.com. There aren’t any players listed on the injured list for tomorrow night’s match-up with the exception of Andrew Bynum who’s out indefinitely and former Sun, Jason Richardson who left last night’s game with a sprained ankle, he did not return to the game and his status is unknown for tonight’s game however he’s not listed on the injured list.

Keys to the game: Suns 

- Push the ball all game long! This 76ers squad played an highly competitive overtime game last night, their stamina most definitely won’t be at 100% and the Suns should look to take advantage of that.

- Force Philadelphia to take jump shots. The 76ers are 29th in points per game this season because they are without their top scoring option in Bynum which has also resulted in Philadelphia ranking 29th in field goal percentage as they’re shooting a mere 41% from the field. Make the 76ers take jumpers all game and you give yourself a great chance to win the game.

Nov 21, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia 76ers small forward Thaddeus Young (21) grabs a rebound in front of Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Omri Casspi (36) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

- Get Markieff Morris involved early. Morris had a career high 23 points the other night against the Hornets, his confidence is very high right now and now that he’s going to be playing in front of his friends and family in Philadelphia he’s going to be as hyped up as he’s ever going to be so the Suns need to get him going early and hopefully he can continue his excellent performance.

Keys to the game: 76ers

- Move the ball better. Philadelphia is ranked 24th in the NBA in assists per game. Philadelphia has to do a better job spreading the wealth to get themselves better looks at the basket.

- The three point factor. Philadelphia may not be a good scoring team however they are a fairly good team from downtown. Philadelphia is 7th in the league this season in 3-point percentage and is tied for 10th in 3-pointers made per game. They have a lot of weapons on the perimeter with guys like Jrue Holiday, Dorell Wright and Nick Young who are all excellent marksmen from downtown.

The X-Factor

- Turnovers. Both teams does a spectacular job taking care of the basketball which is nothing new with a Doug Collins coached team however it is with the Suns. The Suns are ranked 4th in turnovers per game while Philadelphia is ranked 2nd. So it’ll be intriguing to see which one of these well disciplined teams makes more mistakes.

Dec. 28, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward (11) Markieff Morris laughsl in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at the US Airways Center. The 76ers defeated the Suns 103-83. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Match-up of the night! 

- Obviously it’s going to be the battle of the power forwards, Markieff Morris vs. Thaddeus Young. It’ll be a homecoming for the young Markieff who’s been terrific in the past 2 games he started and he will look to continue that tonight or perhaps do one better, and hey what better place for Markieff to do so than in his hometown? Young on the other hand has quietly had a nice season in Philadelphia and is coming off what might be the best game of his career as he put up 29 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists against the Thunder last night.

Topics: NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Sixers, Phoenix Suns

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