Considering the Philadelphia 76ers failed to defeat the Phoenix Suns a couple of months back with both of their All-Stars on the floor, Wednesday night's rematch between Phoenix and the Sixers was especially expected to be a difficult one for the home team as they were quite shorthanded.
Going into the matchup, the Sixers had more than a few names on the injury report. Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons were all listed as questionable on the Wednesday afternoon injury report.
The good news was that Joel Embiid was cleared for action after the team initially intended to let him rest before the second night of a back-to-back. The bad news was that everybody else listed couldn't get the green light to go.
Without Simmons, Curry, and Harris on the floor, the Sixers put on an admirable effort. Through the first half, the Sixers and the Suns were tied at 54 as both teams remained neck and neck throughout the first couple of quarters.
The Sixers were in a similar position on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors, but they allowed the opponent to pull away and get off to a comfortable lead as the second half progressed. On Wednesday, it wasn't as easy for Phoenix to secure a victory over the shorthanded Sixers.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Suns had just a one-point lead. And when it was all said and done, Phoenix squeaked out of the Wells Fargo Center with a one-possession win as they defeated the 76ers 116-113.
Considering the circumstances, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers liked his team's effort and mentioned that he thought they played hard. However, his superstar center Joel Embiid wasn't as pleased and wouldn't accept any moral victories.
“[I'm] not happy,” Embiid stated after the loss. "We got more than enough -- especially when I’m on the basketball court. We should win every game. There is no positive to take away from tonight. We just gotta be better. I made a lot of mistakes with the double teams and turning the ball over. There are no moral victories. You just gotta move on and win the next one.”
The Sixers take on two-straight defeats with Wednesday night's loss, and the road ahead doesn't get any easier. With zero days off, the Sixers had to travel to Milwaukee right after Wednesday's matchup concluded to face the Bucks on Thursday night. Whether the Sixers will be shorthanded or not is unclear, but either way, Thursday's matchup is no walk in the park for Philly.