Pregame: Sixers Vs. Suns

Jan 15, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) brings the ball up court during the first quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Bobcats 95-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers (14-30) welcome the Phoenix Suns (25-18) into the Wells Fargo Center tonight at 7:30 PM ET. I sat down with Eric Saar, the editor over at Sun-N-Gun, the Phoenix Suns FanSided blog, to ask him a few questions regarding the game. Check out the Q&A below!

EG: How excited are you to watch the matchup of Goran Dragic vs. Michael Carter-Williams?

Jan 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) lays up the ball against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at US Airways Center. The Mavericks won 110-107. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

ES: I am interested to see how much Carter-Williams will fill up the stat sheet. However, I don’t think it will be too much of a battle as Dragic seems to take advantage of young, rookie point guards. The Dragon, as a veteran, will probably force MCW into a myriad of simple mistakes.

EG: There are so many surprisingly improved players on this Suns’ roster; who has impressed you the most?

Jan 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

ES: While Miles Plumlee came out of nowhere and is probably the easy choice, and Gerald Green has come on strong in his starting role since Bledsoe’s been out, the most impressive player lies elsewhere. I think it is Markieff Morris. That is because I saw him since he was drafted, and it didn’t look good. He used to take ill-advised shots, and he didn’t make very many of the ones he attempted. He seemed to take plays off, only playing offense, not really rebounding or hustling and continued to get into foul trouble.

Now his jump shooting is leaps and bounds better, his efficiency is vastly better, he doesn’t foul too often, and he is aggressive down low (and actually plays in the post). His rebounding is up, he is becoming a leader and hustles. It’s a complete turnaround. He even won Western Conference Player of the Week, a first for a Suns player since 2008.

EG: How huge a loss has Eric Bledsoe’s injury been for the Phoenix Suns?

ES: The loss of Bledsoe, for however long he’s out, has, and will continue to hurt the Suns’ overall record, but not as badly as some have said. You never know what would have happened, but over the course of the season so far, Bledsoe’s absence has cost Phoenix about five or six wins. By the end of the season, the time he misses could be the difference between the fourth seed out West and somewhere between six through eight.

EG: Which Suns’ player should the Sixes focus on and be the most worried about heading into this game?

Jan 24, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic calls a play in the second half against the Washington Wizards at the US Airways Center. The Wizards defeated the Suns 101-95. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

ES: Of course Philly has to be wary of The Dragon penetrating into the lane, but probably Gerald Green is the player the 76ers need to watch out for. If Green (or also Frye) gets his shot going, the game is over.

EG: Who will be the player of the game?

ES: Markieff Morris will be the player of the game. The 76ers defense is worst in the league giving up over 109 points per game. Apart from Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Michael Carter-Williams the 76ers don’t really have any high-caliber players, so Morris will eat Philly’s second unit alive.

EG: What’s your game prediction?

ES: The Suns will come out victorious by a score of 115-98.

Topics: Evan Turner, Gerald Green, Goran Dragic, Markieff Morris, Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Thaddeus Young

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  • John Adair

    Should be an entertaining, up-tempo game. Could be high scoring, and the Sixers’ leaky defense could prove to be the difference. Phoenix is very underrated at that end of the floor, and despite the loss of Bledsoe, they have still played way above expectations. Look for Miles Plumlee to have a big game.