Things to Watch: Sixers Versus Suns
The Sixers will have part one a back to back on Tuesday, facing off against the Phoenix Suns. Here are some things to keep an eye on ahead of the matchup.
The new quiet tournament
Based on the latest injury report from the Sixers, it is looking like Brett Brown is planning to rest his stars. With that being said, the final three seeding games could be the last audition for the second unit.
With more minutes to go around in these final games, it will allow fringe rotation guys one last chance to find their way into the playoff rotation. Brett Brown has brought up multiple times that the rotation come playoff time is going to shrink to nine guys. Now that all of the bench pieces are fully healthy it is time to see who is going to step up and show that they belong in the playoff rotation.
Containing Devin Booker
The main reason the Suns have found themselves with an undefeated record in the seeding games has been the play of their man star. Devin Booker has exploded in the bubble and continues to show that he can be one of the top offensive players in the league. The Sixers are going to have to do their best to contain him if they want to keep this game competitive.
With all of the core pieces unavailable, it looks like Matisse Thybulle will be given the task of patrolling Booker on defense. Brett Brown spoke about this on Monday to the media saying that Thybulle getting to guard a guy like Booker is "great preparation for what's ahead." Thybulle played huge minutes in the fourth quarter against the Trail Blazers and did a good job defending their stars, hopefully he can keep up his strong play on that end guarding Booker in this one.
Extended minutes for Shake Milton
One guy we have not seen much of in recent games is Shake Milton. Part of that is due to the scoring barrages we have seen from Alec Burks off the bench tonight. But with the Sixers having a short bench tonight we should see a lot more of the starting point guard against the Suns.
With the playoffs right around the corner, Milton needs as much time on the floor as he can get. Also, when he is on the floor Brett Brown needs to continue to grow him as a facilitator. With no Ben Simmons for the foreseeable future, Milton is going to have to step up as the guy who runs the offense. A game like this where the team is without most of its key pieces it is a great opportunity to put the ball in Shake's hands a lot and let him continue to grow and build confidence.
Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Sportstalkphilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.