Wednesday, January 2, 9:00 PM (EST) at US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
15-17 (3rd Atlantic, 8th East)
11-21 (5th Pacific, 14th West)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
MATCHUP TO WATCH
F Luis Scola vs. F Thaddeus Young
Acquired off of waivers by the Suns after he was amnestied by the Houston Rockets this summer, Luis Scola has provided Phoenix will quality frontcourt play this season. The 6-9 forward from Argentina is averaging 12.8 points (48.1 FG%) and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2012-13, but has seen his role in the Suns' offense expand as of late – after attempting just 10.8 shots per night over the first 30 games of 2012-13, he's attempted 43 in his last two games, scoring 57 points.
Thaddeus Young has been one of the Sixers' most consistent performers this season. Through 32 games, he's averaged 15.1 points (51.2 FG%), 7.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Amazingly, he's failed to score in double figured just two times this season and has notched 22 straight games with 10 or more points. After spending each of the last two seasons as a reserve, he's started every game this season and has logged the third most minutes of any player on the team this season (35.7).
Scola is one of the league's most skilled bigs. A throwback player, he utilizes an array of hooks, drop steps, up-and-under moves, and head fakes to score despite limited athleticism. He is also an effective shooter from midrange (45.2 FG%), the distance from which he attempts the majority of his shots (50.5%); 79.0% of his midrange makes come off of assists. In fact, when the two teams played one another on November 25, Scola made just three baskets, two from midrange and all off of assists. Making sure to consistently step out on Scola, while trying to deny his catch-and-shoot opportunities will help limit his contributions on the offensive end.
Sharing The Load
The Suns feature six players who currently average at least 10.0 points per game, a claim that only a handful of teams can make this season. However, their leading scorer, point guard Goran Dragic averages just 14.3 points per game, the lowest of any of the 30 team scoring leaders in the NBA. For reference, the Sixers have three players averaging at least 14.3 points per game – Evan Turner (14.6), Thaddeus Young (15.1), and Jrue Holiday (18.9).
Shannon Brown, who most remember for his two championship seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (2009, 2010), has provided the Suns with a consistent scoring spark in each of their last two seasons. This year, the 7-year veteran guard is averaging a career-high 12.8 points in a career-high 27.7 minutes a night. Blessed with fantastic athleticism, Brown is deadly in transition and is on constant "poster alert" whenever he gets a lane to the basket.