He came out of the gate firing and at first it wasn't so great. He started 2-of-11 from the field but wasn't deterred in the slightest. He continued to fire and they started going in … from everywhere. Dunks, jumpers, floaters, layups, mid-range shots, threes —he hit them all and finished with a game high 46 points on 17-for-32 from the field to go with eight rebounds. The Sixers knew he was a mass scorer and still weren't able to stop him.
Brett Brown made a solid point before Monday's game against Phoenix. The impressive stat lines and multiple double-doubles by Embiid and Simmons only matter because the team is winning. If the team was losing then the stats wouldn't carry the same weight. That was never more true than it was against the Suns. Embiid finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Simmons racked up 20 points and eight rebounds. But this was the ugliest game to date by the Sixers and the home crowd let them know, booing before halftime to show their displeasure in how the team was playing against the Suns, who heading into the game were 12th in the Western Conference.
After playing against a slew of the NBA's top teams Brown said his main message to the Sixers before playing the Suns, a lottery bound team, was, "We've got to play defense." He even called the game a "danger game". Well, the Sixers played so bad that they were in danger from tipoff and the Sixers didn't look like they were interested in playing much defense. There were small moments of good defensive plays but they were immediately followed by complete breakdowns on the following possession. Playing down to the competition is one thing, but this was ugly.
The Sixers rank dead last in the league averaging 23.9 fouls per game. They committed 22 fouls against the Suns and paid for it by giving Phoenix 17 free points at the charity stripe. No matter how many calls the fans thought were questionable, there were plenty that were just bad fouls at bad moments. The Sixers let their frustration get the best of them.