Sixers burn Bridges, Suns in Summer League upset

2018-07-12 21_18_36-Phoenix Suns vs Philadelphia Sixers Full Game Highlights _ July 12 _ 2018 NBA Su

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

If you were hoping to witness the upset of the century on Thursday night…well you didn't get that exactly, but it was still an impressive showing nonetheless.

The previously winless Philadelphia 76ers, who were subsequently ranked No. 30 heading into the knockout tournament, knocked out and upset the third-seeded Phoenix Suns 88-86 in Las Vegas.

The Sixers battled hard and came away with the unlikely victory. It was a team effort, all around as the Sixers got contributions from plenty of different players, but people also got a chance to see a glimpse of the future, especially with 2018 first-round selection Zhaire Smith, who was entangled in a battle with Suns first-rounder Mikal Bridges, who was traded by the Sixers to Phoenix on draft night.

Smith finished the game with eight points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field with two assists. He helped push the Sixers lead to 11 points late in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, as he was 50 percent from beyond-the-arc for the contest. He also went 3-for-3 from the foul line.

The Sixers were led by Isaiah Miles in scoring, notching 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including six 3-pointers. He also added six rebounds and an assist.

Demetrius Jackson scored 10 points on 3-of-7 from the field, with three rebounds, and five assists, along with two blocks and a steal. Though he doesn't have a realistic chance to re-make the Sixers main roster, Jackson finished tied with a team-high plus-7 on the floor.

Askia Booker led the Sixers reserves with 11 points, seven boards, and six assists, with a steal and a block. Cameron Oliver dazzled with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, with four rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block in 17 minutes. 

Big-man Jonah Bolden continued his summer struggles, as he failed to record a point on 0-for-4 shooting, all of his shots attempted from beyond-the-arc. He did finish with five points and three blocks.

The Sixers as a team were 44.1 percent (30-68) from the field, 44.1 percent (15-34) from downtown and a sub-par 61.9 percent (13-21) from the charity stripe, yet they somehow figured out a way to get the job done and upend the clearly more talented Suns team.

Phoenix had four starters in its lineup finish in double scoring figures. Shaquille Harrison (17), Davon Reed (16), Dragan Bender (12), and No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton (10) led the Suns' first team.

The aforementioned Mikal Bridges finished the game with seven points on 2-of-5 shooting, 1-of-3 from beyond, with four steals and two blocks, showing his defensive capabilities. Harrison added eight boards, six assists, and three steals to go along with his 17 points, while Ayton grabbed nine rebounds and had three steals to pair up with his 10 points.

The Suns shot slightly better from the floor than the Sixers at 46.2 percent (30-65). They couldn't buy a 3-pointer, after shooting 25 percent (5-20), and they shot 75 percent (21-28) from the foul line.

While the Sixers advance to the next round of the Summer League tournament, facing either Donte DiVincenzo and the Milwaukee Bucks or Lonnie Walker IV and the San Antonio Spurs, the Suns are sent to the consolation round of the tournament.