Takeaways from the Sixers-Suns game

The Sixers went through more growing pains yesterday after losing to the Suns. It's a lesson for a young team.

The Sixers, for the most part, have exceeded expectations so far this season. If you had of told me before the season that the Sixers would be 13-10 through what has been a brutal schedule-- ranked 1st in strength of schedule according to Basketball reference-- I would've taken that laughing to the bank.

This team is still young and has gone through some growing pains so far, and Monday night's loss to the Suns is another one the team has to learn from. You can't just go through the motions in the first half and play down to a level of competition.

1. Suns dominated the offensive glass

The Sixers lead the league in Defensive Rebounding (37.2) and are 8th in Defensive rebounding percentage (79%) but were surprisingly bullied on the offensive glass.Tyson Chandler beat Joel Embiid to some key offensive boards and had some tap outs. Josh Jackson also grabbed some key offensive rebounds over Ben Simmons. All of which lead to second-chance opportunities. 

When you're climbing back into the game you have to be able to complete the defensive possession with a rebound, especially when the shots aren't falling and the opposing team is hitting every shot like Devin Booker and TJ Warren were doing.

2. Struggles from the Three-point line

It was a night to forget from the three-point line. Robert Covington, JJ Redick, and Dario Saric all shot a combined 5 of 23 from three, and a good portion of those shots were clean looks. 

The Sixers have quietly struggled from the three-point line over the past 2 weeks. Since November 13th the team has shot 31% from three on 28 attempts. After ranking in the top 5 in makes and attempts, and 8th in percentage early in the season, they have dropped to 15th, 14th, and 21st in Makes, Attempts, and Percentage respectively.

Robert Covington has finally started to come back down to earth after reaching an unsustainable 50% from three at one point. Since November 18th he has shot 30% from three. I don't expect this slump to continue, but this rough patch he has hit has been a bumpy one, to say the least.

3. Devin Booker is so good

I love it when "Smarter-than-you" NBA Twitter tries to discredit and rip apart a player that other NBA fans love to watch. That's what happened to Devin Booker during his first two seasons. Efficiency nerds and number crunchers considered him an overrated and inefficient chucker on a bad team, instead of realizing that he was only 19 and had all of these ways to score and showed some flashes as a passer while playing with a crap team and a terrible coach. 

Booker is finally coming into his own this season. Now that the Suns have somewhat better talent, and Earl Watson is out of town, Booker is finally producing better efficiency and has grown more as a passer. He is a scoring machine, and after starting the game 1-8 at one point, Booker lit up the Sixers for 46 points, while making some ridiculous shots that reminded me of Kobe Bryant.